Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetes and Foot Care
With diabetes comes the need to pay extremely careful attention to the feet. Diabetes can lead to two complications, (1) nerve damage (neuropathy), and (2) poor circulation. Neuropathy can cause you to lose sensation in your feet which will cause you to be unaware if there is an injury or irritation. This in conjunction with poor circulation can be extremely detrimental because it will reduce your ability to heal, and even the smallest cut can become difficult to protect from infection.
Diabetes will increase the risk of developing foot problems and it can cause even the smallest issues to turn into serious complications and potentially an amputation.
Diabetes-Related Foot and Leg Conditions
• Infections and Ulcers that do not heel - An ulcer is skin sore which can go as deep as the bone. Poor circulation and neuropathy can cause minor cuts and blisters to turn into ulcers and become infected. This is very common in diabetes patients and can lead to severe complications including amputation and death.
• Corns and Calluses - When neuropathy is present you may not be able to tell when pressure from your shoes is causing corns or calluses. If not properly dealt with they can develop into ulcers.
• Dry, cracked skin - Dry and cracked skin can easily form when there is poor circulation and neuropathy, and although it may not seem serious, cracked skin can lead to infection and further complication.
• Poor Blood Flow - In diabetes blood vessels below the knee often become narrow and constrict the blood flow which can prevent injuries from healing and may cause tissue death.
• Hammertoes and Bunions - When nerve damage affects the muscles, it can cause muscle weakness loss of tone in the feet and lead to hammertoes and bunions. These deformities untreated can lead to ulcers.
• Charcot Foot - When Charcot foot occurs, the patient has a broken bone that is undetected because of loss of sesnsation. This leads to the destruction of soft tissue in the foot. Because of neuropathy, this goes undetected and the patient continues to walk on the broken bone, making it worse and leading to potentially the need for surgery and potential amputation.
• Nail Disorders - Ingrown toenails and fungal infections can go undetected and lead to infection.
Your podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon help wounds heel to prevent further complications and amputation. There are many new technologies and procedures available to help feet and legs. It is very important to get regular foot checkups and seek immediate attention if you see something may be wrong to prevent things from worsening. Your podiatrist will work together with other healthcare providers to prevent and treat foot and leg complications that can occur from diabetes.