Diabetic Foot Care
How does Diabetes Mellitus affect your feet?
This disease affects the foot by causing poor immune function, nerve dysfunction (including numbness), circulatory changes, changes in foot posture, and bone anatomy. Changes in skin and nail are often exacerbated in the presence of diabetes. Attention to these problems can help prevent complications, which can impede daily activities.
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)
PVD refers to decreased blood supply that occurs when arterial blood vessels become too narrow. PVD also occurs when the veins do not return blood from the limbs to the circulatory system. Vascular insufficiency largely contributes to the severity of foot infections.
PVD Warning Signs:
- Night pain
- Cramps while walking
- Changes in skin color and loss of hair
- Thick and brittle toenails
- Cold, pale skin
Neuropathy can cause altered or lost sensation of pain, temperature, and stability. The patient can underestimate an injury, thus predisposing the foot to breakdown of skin, ulcerations, and infection. Nerve damage can lead to dry cracking skin. Muscle weakness can cause joint and bone deformity.
Diabetic foot ulcerations are virtually the most challenging foot malady we treat. When a person’s diabetic state combines with neuropathy and vascular changes, the foot loses the ability to heal. At areas of pressure, the foot can progress to deep and infected gaps in the skin. These are called ulcers, which can expose bone and cause devastating consequences. We use a variety of wound care and orthopedic measures. Our most important tool is prevention.