Diabetic Foot Issues
Understanding diabetic foot issues
Our Cypress orthopedist knows that diabetes causes a multitude of health problems, including diabetic foot issues. Diabetes can contribute to reduced blood flow to the extremities, which results in difficulty with wound healing. Additionally, the nerves of the extremities can also become damaged by diabetes. This diabetic neuropathy may cause nerve pain and loss of sensation in the feet. Without sensation in the feet, diabetics are at risk of developing wounds that they may initially be unaware of. Sadly, these wounds may fail to heal and become infected, which can result in the need for an amputation.
However, with regular foot care, compliance with a medication regimen and routine visits to a foot and ankle doctor, many potential foot complications of diabetes can be avoided.
Management of diabetic foot issues
Medical management of diabetes should be provided by your primary care physician or an endocrinologist. However, management of diabetic foot issues may be provided by our Cypress orthopedist, Stacy A. Bacon, MD.
An initial visit will include an evaluation of your degree of sensation to the feet and the strength of your pulses, which gives an indication of the quality of blood flow. The entire foot is also examined for deformities or the presence of ulcers or wounds. An x-ray is likely to be obtained to determine if there are any changes to the foot or ankle due to diabetes.
A number of steps can be implemented to prevent complications to the feet. One of the most important measures is obtaining diabetic shoes and inserts, which can be prescribed at your initial visit and are covered by insurance annually. These shoes and inserts help prevent pressure points from forming on the foot, which can develop into an ulcer. Additionally, your toenails may be trimmed in the office. Trimming your toenails on your own or having them trimmed by a pedicurist greatly increases your risk of developing a wound that may become infected. Insurance will cover toenail trimming every two months.
Home care for diabetic foot issues
There are many things you can do at home to reduce the risk of diabetic foot issues and related complications. Some of the basic steps that our Cypress orthopedist recommends include:
- Do NOT walk barefoot. Walking barefoot greatly increases the risk of developing a foot wound. Due to neuropathy, a small injury may go unnoticed and become a significant problem.
- Wear white cotton socks. Cotton socks help prevent excessive moisture from forming, which can lead to skin breakdown. Also, if a wound develops that you are unable to see, any drainage will be noticeable when you remove the sock, alerting you to a potential problem.
- Check your feet twice a day. If a wound develops on your foot, it is important that it is quickly recognized and treated. If you are unable to evaluate your foot completely, have a family member check for any wounds or areas of pressure, including between the toes.
- Call immediately if a problem arises. If you notice a wound has formed on your foot, call our Cypress orthopedist immediately to have it evaluated. You will be scheduled within 24 hours to have your foot examined.
- Apply moisturizer to your feet and wear socks to bed. Diabetic neuropathy may cause an abnormally low ability for the feet to sweat. In addition to dry skin, this may lead to cracks and fissures in the skin, which can become serious wounds. If you have noticed that your feet are very dry, find an over-the-counter moisturizer cream, apply it to your feet before bed and put on tall socks.
Contact us to schedule an appointment with Stacy A. Bacon, MD, our Cypress orthopedist to learn more about diabetic foot issues.
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Bone fractures
- Heel pain
- Congenital problems
- Corns and calluses
- Plantar warts