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Don't Ignore Burning Feet or Numb Toes

Warning Signs of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy


Updated June 19, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Burning feet, numb toes, or tingling in your toes or feet are more than annoying symptoms. They may be warning signs diabetes and the dangerous condition diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Left untreated, this can lead to foot ulcers and amputation.

"Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is not only painful but dangerous," says Dr. John M. Giurini, president of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) in a press release. "It's a leading contributor to foot ulcers in people with diabetes."

These same symptoms can point to thyroid problems, nutritional deficiencies, back problems and pinched nerves in the ankles. But diabetes is the leading cause of these symptoms in the US. One out of four people with diabetes are undiagnosed, and burning or tingling toes may be the first symptom they notice.

Even those with diabetes who maintain good blood sugar control can develop peripheral neuropathy. If the condition leads to foot ulcers, it leads to amputation 20% of the time. Don't ignore these symptoms!

Source: Press Release, Foot Pain? You May Have Diabetes. ACFAS, accessed 6/17/14

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