Diabetic Foot Management

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Diabetic Foot Management

Diabetes is a disease that causes faulty or insufficient insulin production or low sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is an essential hormone that is responsible for helping cells absorb sugar from the blood to use for energy. When this process does not work correctly, sugar remains circulating in the blood, causing health problems.

Prolonged periods of high sugar levels in the blood can damage many areas of the body, including the feet.

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors for Diabetic Foot Problems?

Several risk factors increase a person with diabetes chances of developing foot problems and diabetic infections in the legs and feet.

  • Footwear: Poorly fitting shoes are a common cause of diabetic foot problems.
  • Nerve damage: People with long-standing or poorly controlled diabetes are at risk for having damage to the nerves in their feet. The medical term for this is peripheral neuropathy.
  • Poor circulation: Especially when poorly controlled, diabetes can lead to accelerated hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. When blood flow to injured tissues is poor, healing does not occur properly.
  • Trauma to the foot: Any trauma to the foot can increase the risk for a more serious problem to develop.
  • Infections – Athlete’s foot, a fungal infection of the skin or toenails, can lead to more serious bacterial infections and should be treated promptly.

Signs & Symptoms of Diabdiabetic Foot Problems

  • Changes to the color or shape of your feet
  • Thickening and yellowing of the toenails
  • Tenderness on or around the big toe
  • Burning, numbness, tingling or painful feet
  • Loss of sensation to heat, cold, or touch
  • Loss of hair on the toes, feet, and lower legs
  • Red spots, blisters, sores, ulcers, infected corns or callus around the big toe.


Nonsurgical treatment

  • keeping wounds clean and dressed
  • wearing immobilization devices, such as a cast boot or total contact cast
  • closely observing any gangrene on the toes until self-amputation occurs, which is when the toes fall off due to lack of blood flow

Surgical treatment

  • the removal of decaying or dead tissue
  • amputation, ranging from single toes or sections of foot to amputation of the leg below or even above the knee
  • surgical stabilization of Charcot’s Foot
  • an arterial bypass for peripheral vascular disease, which assists blood flow to the area
  • endovascular surgery with placement of stents, which uses small devices to keep blood vessels open


What problems do diabetics have with their feet?

Diabetic foot problems also include bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, fungal infections, dryness of the skin, and ingrown toenails. These problems are not specific to diabetes, but may occur more commonly due to the nerve and vascular damage caused by diabetes.

Why do diabetics feet turn black?

Diabetes can affect your feet in two important ways: loss of healthy nerve function and a reduction in healthy circulation. If your circulation is affected by diabetes, you could notice discoloration of your toes and feet. The skin on your feet could turn blue, purple, or gray.

Is Diabetic Foot curable?

Diabetic foot infections are a frequent clinical problem. About 50% of patients with diabetic foot infections who have foot amputations die within five years. Properly managed most can be cured, but many patients needlessly undergo amputations because of improper diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

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