Diabetes & Peripheral Neuropathy - Exercise

Anyone diagnosed with diabetes is first counseled on ‘lifestyle modification’.  This advice includes eating smarter, to keep your blood sugars from spiking, and exercising, which allows you body to more efficiently utilize the sugar in your blood.  Because life habits are hard to change, your family doctor likely will have you start taking a medication that allows your body to respond more appropriately to elevated blood sugars.  Diabetes can be an opportunity to take a little better care of yourself and when well controlled my never develop secondary problems.


One of the most common secondary symptoms people experience with late stages of the disease are numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in their fingers and toes.  These sensations may not persist or only occur occasionally, but they are classic finding for peripheral neuropathy.  The nerves in the outermost part of your body, fingers and toes, contain the smallest of nerves.  These tiny nerves are the first ones to be damaged by diabetes and elevated sugars.  Nerves are very slow to heal and often damage to them is so significant that it is irreversible. When your nerves are not able to detect pain, the chances of you injuring your feet are greatly increased.  It is important for anyone with neuropathy to examine your feet daily for any problems or injuries.


Through constant monitoring you can avoid the direst of diabetic complications including infection and amputation.  A study from the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA) published last month supports you continuing to exercise even if you have developed diabetic peripheral neuropathy.  They compared non-weight bearing exercises, stationary cycling, to weight bearing exercises, treadmill walking and stair climbing.  They found that the pressure placed on the feet was not increased significantly from one type of exercise to the other.  That being said, it is important to discuss your exercise plans with Austin podiatrist and closely monitor your feet.  As with any exercise, begin slowly and gradually increase the amount. Monitor your feet throughout your exercise routine and visit us at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialist at the smallest change.


Until next time, keep your feet happy and healthy Austin!

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
Connect with me
Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
Be the first to comment!
Post a Comment