Diabetic Foot: Causes, Signs & Treatment| Resurgens Orthopaedics
This term describes foot problems that stem from diabetes. Diabetes can cause nerve damage and poor circulation, making it difficult to notice blisters, sores, ulcers, and other foot injuries that lead to infections. There are a variety of strategies to protect diabetic feet from infections and other complications.
What You Need To Know About Diabetic Foot
- What is Diabetic Foot?
- What Causes Diabetic Foot?
- Diabetic Foot Symptoms
- How is Diabetic Foot Diagnosed?
- Diabetic Foot Treatment
What is Diabetic Foot?
Diabetic foot is a complex condition caused by diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar). When people have prolonged periods of high blood sugar, multiple problems in the foot may occur.
Diabetic neuropathy (loss of feeling in the feet) and peripheral artery disease (poor blood supply to the foot) are two of the most common diabetic foot symptoms. Diabetic feet develop sores, deformities, and infections more easily. Proper diabetic foot care is essential. Otherwise, the condition can lead to serious complications, including amputations.
Finding the best diabetic foot treatment starts with a visit to Resurgens Orthopaedics. Schedule an appointment with our nationally-renowned experts now!
What Causes Diabetic Foot?
Diabetes changes your body in ways that can cause diabetic foot. Over time, high blood sugar can damage your nervous system, which can cause you to lose feeling in your feet (diabetic neuropathy). You may not feel hot, cold, or painful sensations. You could injure your foot or develop a blister or sore without realizing it. Treatment for numbness in feet due to diabetes can help you deal with these symptoms.
Diabetic foot problems make it harder for your body to fight off infections. Diabetes can also damage your circulatory system. This results in poor blood flow to your feet, known as peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Diabetic Foot Symptoms
Symptoms of diabetic foot vary from person to person, depending on the specific issue the patient is experiencing. Typical diabetic foot symptoms include numbness or tingling, loss of feeling, blistering, dry, peeling skin, open wounds with drainage, skin discoloration, and temperature changes. Pain often is an early sign of diabetes in feet. Your skin may become stiff and shiny. Hair may stop growing on your legs and feet. You may develop trouble walking as a result of your diabetic foot problems.
If you have a diabetic foot infection, you may experience swelling, redness, and warm skin or develop open sores. You may experience diabetic foot pain and have fever and chills. Red streaks may appear on your skin, spreading away from the infection. If gangrene is present, you may notice a foul smell and blackening of the skin. Any symptoms of infection warrant immediate attention by a doctor.
How is Diabetic Foot Diagnosed?
In order to diagnose diabetic foot, your Resurgens physician will ask about your symptoms, your general health, and how well controlled your diabetes is, and perform a thorough physical exam of your legs, feet, and toes for diabetic foot signs and symptoms. The exam will focus on your ankle reflexes, any loss of sensation, and changes to skin texture or color.
If diabetic neuropathy is suspected, your doctor may perform an electromyogram (EMG), which records electrical activity in the muscles, and a nerve conduction velocity test (NCV), which records the speed at which induced signals pass through the nerves.
This diagnostic information will help your doctor plan your unique diabetic foot treatment.
Diabetic Foot Treatment
Diabetic foot treatment depends on the severity of your condition. A healthier lifestyle can help keep your diabetes in control. You may benefit from a change in footwear and better foot hygiene. Inspect your feet daily, and have regular foot exams to take care of minor problems before they become major ones.
Non-Surgical Diabetic Foot Treatment
A healthy diet and exercise can help maintain good blood sugar levels and manage peripheral vascular disease.
Regular evaluations of the legs and feet, blood sugar, and vascular health by your doctor
Orthotic devices or more supportive shoes may be recommended, as may casting to immobilize the affected foot.
Wounds should be kept clean and dressed. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat any infections.
Patients should check their feet daily, wash, wear supportive shoes and socks, avoid extreme temperatures, have nails trimmed and calluses removed regularly by a professional, and avoid smoking, which diminishes blood supply.
Surgical Diabetic Foot Treatment
If non-surgical interventions are not sufficient, surgery may be necessary. Surgical treatments for diabetic foot may include stabilization of foot deformities, arterial bypass surgeries, removal of decaying tissue, or amputation of limbs that cannot be saved.
The diabetic patient should see their doctor twice a year for routine checkups. This is the key to avoiding most complications. These problems include non-healing ulcers, skin and bone infection, gangrene, foot deformity, and Charcot foot (abnormally shaped foot from neuropathy).
Gangrene and foot ulcers that do not get better with treatment can lead to an amputation of your toe, foot, or part of your leg. A surgeon may perform an amputation to prevent a bad infection from spreading to the rest of your body, and to save your life. Good foot care is very important to prevent serious infections and gangrene.
Only a professional can accurately diagnose diabetic foot signs and symptoms. Schedule an appointment with the expert physician at Resurgens Orthopaedics to learn more!