CONNECTING THE DOTS
If you're diabetic, then you're at higher risk of developing foot problems primarily for two reasons: nerve damage and poor circulation. Respectively, they reduce your ability to feel pain and your ability to heal. In turn, even the smallest problem can go unnoticed, lead to infection, and even amputation. That's why it's so important to have a podiatrist as part of your care team.
Please let Bay Area Foot & Laser Podiatry Group help you avoid complications in your feet. As your Diabetic Foot Care partner, Dr. Jonathan Huey thoroughly evaluates your foot heath and provides a comprehensive prevention, maintenance, and treatment plan that’s tailored to you.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (nerve damage)
Peripheral nerves run to your arms and legs. These nerves can become damaged because of high blood sugar or constricted blood vessels. Common symptoms related to your feet:
- Numbness, tingling, shooting pain, or burning sensation in your toes (sensory neuropathy).
- Muscle weakness or loss in your lower legs and feet, and loss of balance (motor neuropathy).
- Dry, cracked skin (autonomic neuropathy).
Poor Circulation (poor blood flow)
If you’re diabetic, the blood vessels in your lower legs and feet often become narrow. This restricted blood flow makes wounds very difficult to heal and in turn, increases the risk of infection and even further, tissue death (gangrene).
Bunions and Hammertoes (toe deformities)
When you have muscle weakness and loss due to neuropathy, you can develop a bunion (a bony bump next to the base of your big toe) and hammertoes (abnormal bending of the little toes). If left untreated, these toe deformities can cause ulcers.
Calluses and Corns
When nerves are severely damaged, you can’t tell if your shoes are causing friction or abnormal pressure because you can’t feel it. If this happens, calluses and corns can form and if they’re not properly treated, they can turn into ulcers.
Charcot Foot (deformity)
If you have nerve damage (neuropathy), you might not be able to sense pain very well. If you break a bone or damage your joints and it goes unnoticed, you’ll make matters worse by continuing to walk on the injury. When left untreated, your foot structure weakens which leads to deformity and disability, and the possibility of surgery or amputation. For that reason, early diagnosis of Charcot Foot is really important.
Diabetic Foot Infection
If you’re diabetic, then you’re at higher risk of getting an infection in your skin and bone from an open wound. This is why it’s so important to check your feet daily for signs of injury or infection. For diabetics, infections are serious and can be limb- or life-threatening.
Diabetic Foot Ulcers/Sores (open wounds)
For diabetics, even the slightest cut or a tiny blister can easily turn into an ulcer. Because these sores are hard to heal and can lead to infection, proper wound care is of the utmost importance.
Dry, Cracked Skin
Both neuropathy and poor circulation can make your skin extremely dry and cracked. And if an open sore develops from dry, cracked skin, then it can become infected.
Diabetes can cause gangrene. This occurs when a lack of blood flow deprives your body tissue of oxygen and leads to tissue decay and tissue death. Another type called wet gangrene is caused by a bacterial infection. This condition requires urgent medical attention.
When you’ve lost feeling in your toes due to neuropathy, you might not notice that you’ve developed ingrown toenails or nail fungus. If these conditions are left untreated, then they can lead to infection.
When you’re diabetic, minor foot problems can turn into serious ones. So if you’re finding issues with your feet, please don’t hesitate to see us. As your Diabetic Foot Care partner, we’ll give you the help you need to stay on top of your condition.
For in-depth information about diabetes and your feet, we think the American Diabetes Foundation is an excellent resource.