Diligent foot care is one of the many medical needs people with diabetes have. For the most advanced of lower extremity problems, diabetics should see an orthopedic specialist with experience and training in foot and ankle treatments, including surgery. This physician can help maximize foot structure and function, avoiding life-changing complications.
What Diabetes Can Do to The Lower Extremities
The high blood glucose levels characteristic of diabetes can compromise the health of the lower legs, ankles, and feet. In fact, poorly managed diabetes can lead to variety of podiatric problems, such as:
- Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) and associated numbness, tingling and pain in the feet and toes
- Bone deformities, such as fallen arches and Charcot’s foot (bone dislocation and deformity)
- Sores and ulcers
- Skin infections and other changes, such as extreme dryness
- Impaired circulation (peripheral artery disease)
If left untreated, these foot problems can lead to partial or even complete amputations of the toes, feet, ankles, and lower limbs.
How an Orthopedic Specialist Can Prevent Complications
If you and your primary care physician or endocrinologist feel you would benefit from the care an orthopedic specialist can provide, expect a thorough in-office examination of your feet and ankles. The orthopedist will review your medical history, current prescriptions, and symptoms, paying special attention to concerns you have about how your feet feel, look, and move.
To develop a care plan, your orthopedic specialist may do onsite imaging (digital X-rays), a scan to determine bone density and circulation and nerve function assessments. Plus, if you have a diabetic wound on your foot, ankle or lower leg, the doctor will grade its severity.
Your foot care plan will be based on your specific health needs. As with all diabetics, you and your doctor will partner in limiting any disease progression, preserving free and comfortable movement and in avoiding serious wound, nerve and circulation problems which could result in amputation.
At-Home Diabetic Foot Care
Foot care is part of every diabetic’s daily routine. Your orthopedic specialist will advise you to:
- Wash your feet with a mild soap and water daily
- Wear shoes indoors and outdoors
- Change your socks daily, making sure they fit properly
- Wear well-fitting shoes with no pressure points or friction
- Look for areas of bruising, redness, extremely dry skin, cracks, fissures, and tenderness
- Get corns and calluses taken care of in the medical office
Additionally, daily exercise like walking, promotes healthy circulation and helps manage blood sugar levels. Finally, if you smoke, see your doctor about a monitored program to help you kick the habit. Your peripheral circulation will thank you for it.
Your Foot And Ankle Specialist in Southwest Florida
At Advanced Orthopedic Center, our board-certified, fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon is Dr. Steven Anthony. He helps many diabetics achieve their best possible podiatric health.
If you would like to consult with this orthopedic specialist, please contact us at (941) 629-6262, or request your visit online. We have three state of the art offices–Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and Venice, FL.