If you’re one of the more than 100 million Americans with diabetes, you’re also more likely to experience foot and ankle problems, including peripheral vascular disease and diabetic neuropathy. At North Texas Foot & Ankle, with locations in Dallas and Garland, Texas, board-certified foot and ankle surgeon Matthew Hausenfluke, DPM, works with diabetic patients to ease uncomfortable symptoms and improve quality of life. To schedule an appointment, call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.
Diabetes is a group of chronic conditions characterized by high blood sugar. Everyone needs some blood sugar to survive, but too much increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
Diabetes also affects insulin production. Insulin is a hormone the pancreas produces that’s responsible for controlling blood sugar. If too much sugar continues to circulate in your blood, it can lead to problems with your feet. Experts estimate that 50% of amputations occur due to diabetes.
Diabetes affects the feet in several ways, but there are two main risks:
Diabetic neuropathy causes permanent nerve damage. That makes it hard for you to feel sensations in your feet and toes, such as changes in temperature or pain. Over time, a lack of nerve sensation makes it difficult to determine if you have blisters, ulcers, or an infection.
If you develop an infection or ulcer and fail to seek treatment, it may become gangrenous. When left untreated, gangrene often results in amputation.
Peripheral vascular disease is a serious condition that causes plaque and fatty deposits to build up in your veins. This negatively affects blood flow, reducing circulation to your feet. Without adequate blood flow, you’re more likely to experience wounds, pain, and infection. Prompt intervention and treatment can significantly lower your risk of complications.
Diabetes affects everyone’s feet differently, but there are signs to watch out for, including:
As your diabetes gets worse, you might also develop stains on your socks or have trouble maintaining your balance.
Diabetic foot care depends on the severity of your symptoms and their effect on your quality of life. Usually, Dr. Hausenfluke at North Texas Foot & Ankle recommends conservative, integrative treatments like wearing comfortable, padded shoes, inspecting and bathing your feet regularly, and keeping wounds cleaned and dressed.
To lower your risk of infection, he can also, as examples, trim your toenails, perform debridement, and address calluses or ingrown toenails.
If your symptoms persist or get worse, Dr. Hausenfluke might recommend custom orthotics, Superfeet® insoles, or CO2 laser therapy for slow-healing ulcers. If noninvasive treatments don’t provide adequate relief, surgical intervention may be necessary.
The goal of diabetic foot care is to prevent pain, improve your overall mobility, and avoid complications like amputation.
To further explore the podiatric treatment options for diabetes, schedule an appointment at North Texas Foot & Ankle. Book a consultation online, or call the nearest office to speak with a member of the team.