All forms of diabetes may lead to damage of the circulatory and nervous system. This is particularly common in the extremities of the body, especially the foot because it is often the most neglected part of the body. Having diabetes increases the risk of developing a wide range of foot problems. Furthermore, with diabetes, small foot problems can turn into serious complications; even a small cut can produce serious consequences.
People with diabetes are prone to having foot problems, often because of two complications of diabetes: nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor circulation. Neuropathy causes loss of feeling in your feet, taking away your ability to feel pain and discomfort. If some sensation is lost in the foot because of nerve damage, pain may not alert you to that damage has occurred. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it even more difficult to heal an injury or resist infection. Poor circulation will subsequently compromise the flow of oxygen, nutrients, and white blood cells necessary to fend off infection.
Because of these problems, you may not notice a foreign object in your shoe. As a result, you could develop a blister or a sore that could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound subsequently putting you at risk for an amputation.
Diabetes causes the level of sugar in your blood to be higher than normal. Over time, elevated blood sugar levels damage your blood vessels and nerves causing nerve damage and numbness referred to as diabetic neuropathy. Minor wounds often times progressively worsen forming ulcers without the person knowing it because of numbness and the inability to feel.
Prevention is very important and following the appropriate advice is vital. This will involve regular check-ups to ensure good foot health. It goes without saying that prompt treatment for any foot problems is important and you should visit your physician immediately if you suspect any foot problems. Prevention of possible long-term problems may also be appropriated with the use of modified footwear, orthoses and surgery to correct deformity. In worst cases scenarios where severe infection or lack of circulation are prevalent, our highly trained physicians at Gotham Footcare may perform salvage surgery to re-establish the circulation or restrict the spread of infection by amputation. Have your circulation and sense of feeling tested at our convenient locations in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. Your foot and ankle surgeon will perform tests to see if you’ve lost any feeling or circulation.