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Diabetes poses significant health risks for your feet and legs. Those afflicted with this all-too-common immunodeficiency disease have heightened risks for issues like:
- Infections that lead to amputation
- Wounds that won’t heal
- Nerve damage
- Circulation problems
- Balance issues
For those who suffer with diabetes, regular vigilance and proactive, comprehensive foot care is absolutely critical to preventing complications and remaining active and healthy over the long term.
And we are here to help you with that.
How diabetes affects your feet (and why it matters)
Some of the more common (and dangerous) complications of diabetes include:
- Diabetic Neuropathy. High blood sugar damages nerves and nerve function, particularly in the peripheral nerves that enable sensation in your hands and feet. You may experience this as numbness, burning, tingling, or altered sensations.
- Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD). Decreased blood flow to your feet from PVD slows down your body’s natural healing processes.
- This is cramping and pain in your leg(s) following activity. Claudication can be considered a red flag, indicating critically reduced blood flow. Symptoms improve with rest but reoccur after the next round of (even light) physical activity.
- Diabetic Wounds/Ulcers. Lack of sensation and circulation is a combination that can turn even minor issues into large ulcers that are slow to heal and have high infection risk.
- Critically low blood supply and/or significant infection of a wound will cause a darkening of the skin from tissue death. This can lead to a potentially life-threatening situation.
- Charcot foot. In cases with severe sensitivity loss, you may not even feel foot bones breaking. Continuing to walk on broken bones (again, you cannot feel this happening) can lead to substantial deformity. Eventually, you are left with a collapsed or “rocker bottom” foot.
- High blood sugar prevents white blood cells from doing their job of fighting infection. This is why individuals with diabetes are four times more likely to get an infection.
- If an infected wound is able to spread (because it wasn’t treated in time), amputation of a toe, part of the foot, or even much of an affected limb may be required to save your life.
Our comprehensive approach to diabetic foot care
Clearly, diabetes poses risks of serious complications, and our goal is to protect your long-term health, mobility, and quality of life.
This means taking measures like:
- Being proactive with your checkups
- Developing a customized program of care intended to treat and reverse any existing conditions
- Coordinating with internists, endocrinologists, or other medical professionals as necessary (as part of your comprehensive diabetic care team)
Depending on your own individual needs, maintenance treatments may include:
- Oral medications or supplements for neuropathy
- Special diabetic shoes and socks to protect feet from damage
- Care to address and reduce skin and nail problems
When and if ulcers do form, we also provide diabetic wound care – doing everything in our power to bring swift healing, stop any infections, and ultimately prevent amputation.