In individuals with untreated diabetes, serious complications can arise, including with the feet. An excess of blood sugar can lead to neuropathy, or lack of feeling due to damaged nerves in the legs and feet. Peripheral vascular disease is also a common complication, which is poor blood flow to the extremities. Diabetics should inspect their feet every day and connect with a foot and ankle specialist right away if they have cuts or wounds in the foot area.
Diabetes.org provides some helpful tips for those individuals who have the disease. They include:
Control your diabetes: Keep blood sugars where they should be with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Check feet every day: Especially be aware of cuts, swelling, spots, and blisters.
Put your feet up: Keep feet elevated when sitting in order to keep blood flowing, and avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time.
Wear proper footwear: Shoes should be well-fitting, socks should stay dry, and you should not walk barefoot if at all possible.
Symptoms of Diabetic Foot
When an individual has diabetes and neuropathy begins to occur, minor injuries have the potential to become emergencies quickly because you cannot feel when a cut or damage has occurred. Decreased blood flow can prevent injuries from healing quickly, which puts you at an increased risk for infection.
Individuals should act right away if they notice loss of sensation, tingling, or pain, and discoloration or red streaks in the legs or feet.
Symptoms of diabetic foot may include:
Ulcers, which occur in the foot as skin separates and fills with fluid, leading to possible contamination and infection.
Charcot foot, a bone condition that warps the foot’s shape as bones disintegrate or begin to fracture.
Gangrene, when loss of circulation causes tissue to die.
Specialized Treatment Options
A foot and ankle specialist can provide a variety of treatment options, starting with a thorough podiatric checkup all the way through to an evaluation of a patient’s blood flow. Simple tests can be done in a medical office to determine the level of feeling in the foot and, if necessary, a bone scan or MRI can be arranged.
When infections are especially severe, surgery may be necessary in order to remove decaying tissue. Other procedures include fusion and correction of deformities. A condition like gangrene may need to be addressed with amputation, either partial or just below the knee. Nonsurgical options may encompass wound treatment, the use of boots or total casts, and simple observation of the patient’s condition.
Connect with an Experienced Professional in Diabetic Foot Care
When one is dealing with a diabetic condition, prevention may be a good course of treatment. This can be accomplished through education and instruction, as well as regular visits with a foot and ankle specialist. An experienced medical professional will have the right tools to provide the proper examinations, educate the patient about methods for self-care, and recommend special footwear for their needs.