The Importance of Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetes presents unique challenges when it comes to foot care. Infections, ulcers, nerve damage, and circulation problems are complications that people with diabetes may encounter throughout their lives. Podiatrists at the Highland Foot and Ankle Clinic in St. Paul play an important role in foot-related diabetes care: they can identify problems quickly, monitor changes in the feet, treat infections, and help patients make beneficial lifestyle changes. Below you will learn the effects of diabetes on the feet, and how partnering with a podiatrist can make all the difference in successful management of the disease.
Prevent Circulatory Impairment, Wounds, and Infection
Prolonged high blood sugar can damage arteries and lead to the formation of plaque. As a result, blood can no longer flow as freely through the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells. If a person with uncontrolled diabetes injures their foot, the resulting wound may be slow to heal due to inefficient circulation.
An open wound is a gateway for infection, especially on body parts like the feet that are constantly coming into contact with bacteria-laden surfaces. Standing in the shower, backyard, or even on the carpet in your own home could allow bacteria to enter a foot wound and cause an infection. If the circulatory system cannot supply the damaged cells, the wound will fail to heal and the infection can cause major complications.
Our podiatrists at Highland Foot and Ankle Clinic understand diabetic foot management. If you’re struggling with circulation and wound healing due to diabetes, call our office to schedule an appointment and begin your care plan.
Avoid Nerve Damage and Ulcers
High blood glucose levels associated with diabetes can also cause nerve damage. When the nerves in the feet can no longer send signals effectively, two problems may arise: a dulled pain response resulting in unnoticed foot injuries, and poor communication from nerves to muscles leading to improper foot function. As mentioned above, an untreated wound can quickly become infected. If the infection is not taken care of, it could continue to spread and lead to sepsis.
If the nerves in the feet can no longer “talk” with the surrounding muscles, the foot may not align properly and fine motor skills will decrease. Physical activity such as walking can then cause prolonged pressure on parts of the feet not designed to bear as much weight, resulting in ulcer formation. An ulcer is a sore that can be deep and crater-like. If left untreated, the ulcer can extend deeper into tendons and bones.