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Diabetic Footcare

Foot care should be an important part of every diabetic’s plan for preventing complications of high blood sugar.

Diabetes affects multiple areas of the body – including the feet.  Approximately 70 percent of people with diabetes develop circulatory problems and peripheral nerve damage.  

Diabetes-Related Foot Conditions

Diabetic Neuropathy

This condition can make you lose feeling in your feet. Because your feet are numb, you might not feel a blister or cut. Left untreated, an infection can occur.  Signs of diabetes-related neuropathy include:

  • Darkened skin on the affected area

  • Diminished ability to sense hot or cold

  • Loss of hair in the area

  • Numbness

  • Pain.

  • Tingling

 Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

This condition causes arteries to become narrowed or blocked. Reduced blood flow (poor circulation) can make it difficult for a diabetes-related foot ulcer or infection to heal.

Examination & Treatment

To diagnose diabetes-related foot conditions, Dr. Hoeger will:
 

  • Ask about your symptoms and how well you’re controlling blood glucose.

  • Examine your toes, feet and legs.

  • Touch the toes, feet and legs with various tools to check whether you have numbness.


If a diabetes-related ulcer or blister is present, Dr. Hoeger will likely:

  • Examine it for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, warmth, discoloration or discharge.

  • Order tests to take pictures deeper than the skin, such as X-ray or MRI.

  • Take a sample of the skin or discharge to test for infection.

The following outline common treatment options: 

  • Cleaning the wound.

  • Draining any fluid or pus from the ulcer.

  • Removing or cutting away dead or infected tissue (called debridement).

  • Applying special bandages and ointments to absorb extra fluid, protect the wound and help it heal.

  • Prescribing a wheelchair or crutches to take weight off the affected foot (called offloading).

  • Prescribing oral or IV antibiotics to control and eliminate infection.
     

Depending on how severe the infection is, your podiatrist may recommend hospitalization. Sometimes amputation is necessary to prevent infection from spreading to other parts of the body.

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