When you think of diabetes, you probably think about avoiding sugar and taking blood tests. If you’ve been diagnosed with Diabetes, however, you should also be thinking about your feet and ankles. Diabetes affects every area of your health, requiring constant monitoring. In fact, good diabetic foot care can be crucial for preventing severe, painful complications that could deteriorate into life-threatening infections or limb amputations.
Foot Complications from Diabetes
People with Diabetes can develop many different foot problems. Even ordinary problems can get worse and lead to serious complications. Your feet are highly sensitive to changes from Diabetes. Some people even experience symptoms in their feet before the condition is noticed elsewhere. Elevated sugar levels compromise your blood vessels, allowing fluid to leak into your tissues and damage them. Your immune system is weakened, so any issues that develop are harder to heal and have much higher odds of incurring complications. Infections are more dangerous, too. Allowed to progress too far, they could threaten your entire foot with amputation.
Poor circulation (blood flow) can make your feet less able to fight infection and to heal. Diabetes causes blood vessels of the foot and leg to narrow and harden.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a problem that can appear from compromised blood vessels. The problem is with narrowed, blocked up blood vessels traveling into your feet and ankles.
Diabetes is often accompanied by a condition called neuropathy. Damaged nerves may misfire and cause aching, burning, or shooting pains. You may have numb patches, too. Being diagnosed with neuropathy does not mean that there is no hope. At Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic, Dr. Silvester specializes in treating this condition, and can help diagnose and treat both the discomfort and the potential complications of peripheral neuropathy.
One of the most common areas for a diabetic foot ulcer to appear is under a callus. Calluses are thickened, hard areas of skin that develop over parts of the foot that experience increased pressure due to a bone or other prominence, or even shoes that are too tight. Since a neuropathic patient cannot feel the pain of a callus, and the ulcer forms under the callus, it is imperative that a diabetic person does a daily foot exam to monitor their feet for these troubling issues.
Since your compromised immune system can’t heal wounds as efficiently, walking on an injury or area with increased pressure that you can’t feel due to neuropathy will only make the skin deteriorate. That is usually what causes diabetic foot ulcers, which are quite serious.
Diabetes can cause changes in the skin of your foot. Check daily for discoloration in the skin or nails, unusual lumps or bumps, or other abnormal changes.
Charcot Foot is the breakdown of the bones in your foot and ankle due to severe Neuropathy. The deformities that develop from Charcot foot are serious and will be permanent—or result in an amputation—unless they are treated. The sooner you notice and manage the condition, the more likely it can be treated successfully with conservative methods.
Without comprehensive diabetic foot care, people with diabetes are far more likely to have a foot or leg amputated than other people.
Diabetic foot care revolves around maintaining the health of your lower limbs and attempting to prevent additional issues from compromising your feet and ankles. Your feet are your body’s foundation and your main source of mobility. Keeping them healthy is a priority, especially for Dr. Darren Silvester and our team of specialists here at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic. We will evaluate your feet and legs to determine what, if any, issues have already developed. Then we can help you establish home care habits to help prevent problems.
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- I felt tickles I had not felt in over 10 years
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Diabetic foot care is crucial for the health of your feet and ankles. Don’t cut corners or take your feet for granted when you struggle with diabetes. Investing in them now, before problems develop, can go a long way in preventing painful, avoidable issues. Contact Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic here in Pleasanton, TX, for an appointment or more information. Fill out our website contact form or call us at (830) 569-3338 to reach us today.