Last update: 12 September 2021
Diabetic foot develops as a result of the neuropathy that comes with poorly managed diabetes. When blood sugar levels are excessively high for an extended length of time, it impairs a person’s neurological system.
The injury results in a lack of sensation in the lower limbs, among other things. Peripheral neuropathy is the medical term for this condition.
Blood vessel constriction is also caused by poorly managed blood sugar levels. Wounds and ulcers form more easily and heal more slowly as a result of inadequate circulation.
If left untreated, these two factors explain the dangers of a diabetic foot. A diabetic foot sufferer may have trouble recognizing a wound or a temperature change. As a result, individuals may be unable to discern between discomfort that requires the attention of a podiatrist or other health care provider.
Diabetic foot is a severe disease that can lead to gangrene and, in the worst-case scenario, amputation. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the signs and symptoms it produces, as well as the proper responses to control it.
The neuropathy that causes diabetic foot might be difficult to identify because of its nature. It might be difficult to pinpoint the exact source of discomfort for someone who has lost feeling. There are, however, a few recurrent symptoms that make the process less dangerous.
A diabetic should be especially mindful of the following warning signals:
- Sensation loss in the lower limbs (hot, cold, pain)
- Tingling or burning in the feet
- Muscle weakness that makes it difficult to go about your daily routine
- A collapse of the arch of the foot (acquired flat foot)
- Plantar sores that do not heal well or at all
These symptoms, which might indicate the presence of a diabetic foot issue, should not be dismissed. This disease, if left untreated, can result in severe and possibly irreparable consequences.
The following are some of the repercussions of not addressing it:
And in the most severe cases:
- Amputation of a foot (or a portion of a foot)
Causes and risk factors
Diabetic foot symptoms are caused by a decrease of nerve sensitivity and a reduction in blood flow.
Diabetic foot complications, on the other hand, might be due to a multitude of factors:
- Blood sugar levels that are too high or too low
- A foot ailment that has gone untreated
- Poor plantar hygiene
- Being overweight
- Being overweight
- High triglyceride levels in the blood
While certain lifestyle modifications may be possible, a diabetic foot injury almost always needs the assistance of a podiatrist or other health care provider. The podiatrist will be able to provide you with a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs as well as comprehensive management.
Preventing diabetic foot complications
After 25 years of diabetes, it is predicted that more than half of all diabetics will acquire neuropathy. While nerve damage appears to be unavoidable, diabetic foot problems are the total opposite.
The actions below can help reduce some of the disease’s potentially severe effects on the feet:
- Checking the soles of the feet on a regular basis for inflamed sores or the presence of fungus
- Washing your feet with a mild soap on a regular basis and thoroughly dry your feet and toes
- Using shoes that are suited for your foot form
- Taking care of the toenails by using a nail file instead of nail clippers
- Having your feet checked by a podiatrist or other health care expert on a regular basis.
- Wearing white cotton socks that are well-fitting and don’t restrict blood flow
- Avoiding walking barefoot, especially outdoors
- Wearing bathing sandals in public places such as swimming pools or locker rooms to avoid contracting a fungal infection such as athlete’s foot
The podiatrist can assist when standard preventative techniques fail. A precise diagnosis may be made by bearing in mind the medical restrictions of a diabetic patient.
The podiatrist recommends and administers podiatric therapies such as:
- Foot orthotics: custom-made foot orthotics assist in weight distribution and pressure point relief.
- Nail care: it is preferable to have a podiatrist trim the nails of a diabetic foot, especially if there are ingrown toenails.
- Callus removal: sometimes painful and difficult to remove, diabetic foot calluses can be managed by the podiatrist and his or her care team.
In addition to these therapies, the podiatrist can do the yearly podiatric checkup that diabetes patients are required to have. Using sophisticated technology, the podiatrist assesses the amount of sensitivity of the foot during this appointment.
He or she also evaluates the general health of the plantar surface, as well as the existence of anomalies such as ulcers or a fungal infection. Finally, he or she determines the amount of risk and potential consequences based on the patient’s circumstances.
PiedReseau – Learn more
Do you want to learn more about the diabetic foot? We frequently publish content to this effect!
Even while the PiedReseau site contains useful information, nothing matches a face-to-face visit with a podiatrist.
Take care of your feet, they’re precious!