Why Athlete’s Foot Is Serious If You Have Diabetes

Apr 02, 2024
Why Athlete’s Foot Is Serious If You Have Diabetes
For most people, athlete’s foot is just an uncomfortable inconvenience. However, this common problem becomes more serious if you have diabetes. Here’s what you should know.

Athlete’s foot is something you shouldn’t ignore when you have diabetes.

Dr. Hai-En Peng provides diabetic foot care to people of all ages at Align Foot & Ankle Center in Camarillo, California. This subspecialty in podiatry diagnoses, treats, and manages diabetes-related complications involving the feet. 

Do you have diabetes? Here’s why you should take seemingly minor issues like athlete’s foot seriously.

Diabetes and your feet

Diabetes is a condition associated with blood sugar. However, it can also cause numerous health complications, especially with the feet.

When you have consistently high blood sugar, it can cause nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). This condition can trigger tingling and pain in the feet, and it can make you lose feeling as well.

If someone has diabetic neuropathy, they may not feel problems when they arise, whether it’s a pebble inside their shoe or a blister on their toe. 

Diabetes also impacts circulation to your feet. This makes it difficult for an injury or infection to heal. 

Diabetic neuropathy and poor circulation add up to serious problems. Not only can issues go undetected, but they can also become dangerous and put limbs and lives at risk. 

Even minor skin conditions like athlete’s foot can cause problems.

Athlete’s foot and diabetes

Several foot problems become increasingly common with diabetes, especially fungal infections like athlete’s foot.

Like viruses and bacteria that can cause infections, fungi can also grow out of control, causing a fungal infection. 

People living with diabetes often struggle with fungal infections for three primary reasons. 

First, diabetes can impact the immune system, interfering with its ability to kill certain microbes.

Second, certain fungi, like yeast, thrive on sugar. If you have diabetes, your system can secrete extra sugar in your sweat, mucus, and urine, contributing to fungal overgrowth.

Finally, once you have a fungal infection, it’s easier for it to return — leading to recurring problems.

Diabetic foot care

If you have diabetes, Dr. Peng recommends checking your feet daily and watching for problems that include:

  • Red spots, cuts, or sores
  • Blisters or swelling
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Corns, calluses, or warts
  • Discoloration
  • Hair loss on your toes, feet, or legs

You should also look for signs of athlete’s foot. These symptoms typically include itchiness, inflammation, burning or stinging, and peeling, scaly, or dry, cracked skin.

If you detect these issues or notice changes to your feet, it’s time to see an expert.

In addition to checking your feet daily, Dr. Peng recommends scheduling regular diabetic foot care visits. 

During these appointments, Dr. Peng examines your feet, ankles, and lower legs to check for potential problems. He also provides personalized guidance to manage conditions like athlete’s foot.

It’s essential to keep your feet clean and dry when you have diabetes, especially if you have athlete’s foot. Change your socks at least once daily, wear breathable shoes, and don’t go barefoot in public places.

Dr. Peng could also suggest antifungal products to treat your infection and ease your symptoms.Do you have athlete’s foot? Contact Align Foot & Ankle Center to schedule a diabetic foot care consultation in Camarillo, California, today.