Diabetic Foot

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A World of Advice for The Diabetic Foot

Anyone who has ever had an elevated blood sugar level is at risk for foot complications. It may be as simple as knowing that once in your life, even during pregnancy, you have had an elevated blood sugar level. If so, you are at risk and must monitor your feet.

Diet-controlled diabetics, whether diagnosed as an adult or as a child, have feet at risk for diabetic complications. The simple rule: If you have ever been told that you are at risk of developing diabetes, you need to monitor your feet closely to prevent complications.

Charcot Arthropathy

Charcot arthropathy, also known as Charcot foot and ankle, is a syndrome in patients who have peripheral neuropathy, or loss of sensation, in the foot and ankle. Patients may experience fractures and dislocations of bones and joints with minimal or no known trauma.

Custom Shoes for Diabetics

Since people with diabetes are at risk for foot problems that can lead to more serious issues, having the proper footwear is important. While some people in the early stages of the disease may be able to find their own footwear, others need shoes prescribed by a foot and ankle specialist. Click the button below to find out more about custom orthotics (shoe inserts) and other beneficial prescription footwear that a doctor can offer.

Diabetic Foot Overview

About 30 million people in the US have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. A possible complication of the disease is nervous system impairment (neuropathy), which may cause you to lose feeling in your feet or hands. This means you won't know right away if there is a problem. Diabetic neuropathy affects about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes.

People with diabetes are at risk for developing foot problems that can be severe. If you have diabetes, make sure to learn about these potential conditions, monitor your feet regularly, and see your foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons if you suspect a problem.

Diabetic Foot Problems

Diabetes can cause serious foot problems. These conditions include the loss of nerve function (diabetic neuropathy) and loss of circulation (peripheral vascular disease). These two conditions can lead to: 

  • Diabetic foot ulcers: wounds that do not heal
  • Infections: skin infections (cellulitis), bone infections (osteomyelitis) and pus collections (abscesses)
  • Gangrene: dead tissue resulting from complete loss of circulation
  • Charcot arthropathy: fractures and dislocations that may result in severe deformities
  • Amputation: partial foot, whole foot, or below-knee amputation

Foot Ulcers and the Total Contact Cast

Patients with diabetes are prone to major foot problems. This is because the foot expresses many of the underlying effects of diabetes, including neuropathy, vascular disease, and diminished response to infection.

As a result of the neuropathy, the foot can develop an ulcer. This happens for two reasons. The first is that the neuropathy causes paralysis of small muscles in the foot, which results in clawing of the toes. Clawing of the toes causes prominence of the metatarsal heads (bones closest to the toe) on the bottom of the foot as well as the knuckles on the dorsum (top) of the foot.

How to Care for Your Diabetic Feet

People with diabetes are at risk for foot problems. However, building regular healthy habits, practicing proper daily care, and carefully protecting the feet can go a long way towards avoiding more serious issues, like gangrene, infection, deformity, and amputation. Click the button below for a list of important care recommendations for people with diabetes.

The Diabetic Foot and Risk

People with diabetes are at risk for foot issues, including the possibility of losing a leg. The risk increases when a person has diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that causes foot numbness, since problems can go unnoticed. Click the button below to learn how to reduce the risk by properly caring for diabetic feet and seeing a doctor as soon as possible if there is an issue.