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.