Diabetic Foot

Treating Foot Conditions Caused by Diabetes

Nearly 25 million Americans have diabetes, a condition that causes irregularity in the body’s production or response to insulin and high blood glucose. Because high blood sugar can damage nerve fibers, as many as 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes experience neuropathy, or nerve damage, in the feet and legs.

People with diabetes should closely monitor the health of their feet, and seek medical attention if there are signs of wounds, bruising, pressure, redness, soreness, warmth, or ulcers. Due to decreased blood flow, injuries can be slow to heal and vulnerable to infections, and diabetic patients may not be able to tell when a problem is becoming worse.

Diabetic Foot Problems

A lack of sensation and blood flow in the diabetic foot make patients susceptible to various foot problems when a medical issue is left untreated:

  • Ulcers – Diabetic foot ulcers are wounds that do not heal or become infected
  • Infections – People with diabetes are at risk of skin and bone infections, as well as abscesses on their feet
  • Gangrene – A complete loss of circulation can cause tissues to die
  • Charcot arthropathy – Charcot foot is a serious bone condition in which bones in the feet fracture and disintegrate which can cause severe deformities in the foot. Patients who don’t have sensation in their feet can cause further problems.

Diabetic Foot Treatment

Treatment options depend on the nature of a foot condition, its severity, and when patients seek an evaluation.

  • Nonsurgical treatments can consist of the use of casts, boots, and immobilization devices. Infections can also be cleaned, treated with antibiotics, and closely monitored. Proper care and hygiene, regular monitoring, and shoe modifications can also be helpful in managing symptoms, avoiding problems, and promoting recovery.
  • Surgical treatment may be necessary to remove decaying tissue in cases involving infections, such as abscesses. Charcot foot can be treated surgically to stabilize (fuse) and correct deformities. In cases involving gangrene, severe infections, and other serious foot problems, a partial foot or below-knee amputation may be required.

Request Your Appointment

Torrance Memorial Physician Network specialists have a wide breadth of experience and insight needed to treat all issues related to diabetic foot. If you would like an evaluation, call us to request an appointment.