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Can having prediabetes cause pain and burning in my feet?

William Lee Dubois
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
I doubt very much that the pain and burning you are feeling has anything to do with your prediabetes. But that doesn’t make you immune from future trouble.
 Here’s why: First and foremost let’s be honest. Out of control diabetes can set off a whole  host of what are called complications, very nasty side effects you really want to avoid that include blindness, kidney failure, death, and things like that.
Among these many potential complications is a type of nerve damage called neuropathy, arguably one of the worst complications other than death. Neuropathy comes in several flavors but one type is very painful. Thank goodness I don’t suffer from this myself, but it has been described to me as feeling like being bitten by hundreds of fire ants, day and night, with no let up.

Yikes!

But you might have missed a key piece of information, because I just breezed right over it. Diabetes doesn’t cause complications. Out of control diabetes does. What’s the difference? When diabetes is out of control, blood sugar is high, and high blood sugar is like a weak battery acid. It will screw up every part of your body, given time.
So that, in a nut shell is the recipe for complications: one part high blood sugar, one part time; mix well and cook for…
But if you take away either ingredient, the recipe flops. Short periods of high blood sugar won’t cause any lasting harm. And of course, long periods of good blood sugar are completely harmless as that’s the natural environment for our bodies.
The reason I’m quite confident that your pain is caused by something other than your prediabetes is that fact that you are missing both ingredients. As a prediabetic your blood sugars are only a little bit higher than normal, too low to cause neuropathy. Also, as a prediabetic you haven’t had these mildly elevated blood sugars long enough to cause any trouble in the first place.
As to your pain, I can’t even guess as to the cause, but pain is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. Please don’t worry about the prediabetes causing your pain, but please follow up with your Doc to find out what is causing it.
Yes, the same kind of neuropathy seen in diabetics (typically a mixture of damage to the myelin surrounding a nerve and the axon of the nerve itself) can be seen in prediabetic states (namely impaired glucose tolerance.)
Prediabetes rarely causes symptoms. So it is unlikely that prediabetes will cause pain and burning in your feet. Those sensations can be symptoms of type 2 diabetes, however, because that disease can cause damage to the nerves in the feet. This condition is called diabetic neuropathy. It can also cause a loss of sensation in the feet.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.