Diabetes is a chronic condition that can cause a number of serious complications. Problems with the feet are one of the most common. Diabetes is one of the most common reasons people seek relief for painful feet from their podiatrist. Diabetic foot problems are a serious condition that can be diagnosed and treated quickly, painlessly, and successfully by Board Certified Podiatric Surgeon David P. Rosenzweig, DPM.
People with diabetes are more prone to infection. They can also develop neuropathy (damaged nerves) or peripheral vascular disease (blocked arteries) of the legs and either can lead to foot ulceration. Infection and foot ulceration, alone or in combination, can lead to amputation if the diabetes is not controlled. Neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease can also cause distressing pain in the lower limbs.
Leg and foot problems are the most common reason for diabetes-related hospitalization. Diabetes is the leading cause for amputation in the lower leg and foot.
Regular examinations from your podiatrist or foot surgeon for vascular testing (e.g., duplex imaging) are important to help diagnose inadequate blood flow in the legs and feet.
In a sense every person with diabetes has increased risk of developing foot ulceration and needs to take precautions to prevent it from occurring. However, some people have very low risk and some people have very high risk. Grading the risk helps the individuals and the health professionals to take appropriate measures without being too relaxed or too strict. This is not only good for the individuals, it also helps to direct valuable health care resources to people who need it. Patients at low risk only need general advice. Patients at high risk need detailed, specific and practical footcare instruction.
The foot is especially affected by diabetes because:
- Diabetes damages the nerves (damage can occur to the foot and not be detected) – this is called peripheral neuropathy
- Diabetes affects the body’s blood circulation. Poor circulation can affect the ability of the body to heal when damage occurs
- Patients with diabetes are more prone to infection – the body’s processes that normally fight infection respond slower and often have trouble getting to infections due to the poor circulation
- Diabetes can also affect the joints, making the joints in the foot and ankle stiffer and possibly causing a break-down in more severe cases (charcot foot)
- Other diabetes complications that can also affect the foot, for example, kidney disease (affects proteins that are involved in wound healing) and eye disease (can’t see the foot to check for damage)
Diabetic foot problems usually occur when there is nerve damage, neuropathy, which results in loss of feeling in your feet. People with diabetes are prone to many foot problems because of two complications of diabetes: nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor blood circulation. Neuropathy causes loss of feeling in your feet, taking away your ability to feel pain and discomfort, so you may not detect an injury or irritation. Poor circulation in your feet reduces your ability to heal, making it hard for even a small cut to resist infection.
Proper foot care is especially critical for patients diabetics because they are prone to foot problems such as:
- Loss of feeling in their feet
- Changes in the shape of their feet
- Foot ulcers or sores that do not heal
To make an appointment with the diabetic foot doctor specialist, Podiatrist, David P. Rosenzweig, Board Certified in Podiatric Surgery to discuss your diabetic foot problems or to diagnosis diabetic foot related problems please contact him his Rye Brook (Westchester County), New York office.
Advanced Footcare Center
90 South Ridge Street
Rye Brook, New York 10573
T: (914) 937-7077