Let’s dive more deeply into some of the effects of diabetes on the feet that we touched upon in last week’s blog. We mentioned five effects: wounds that won’t heal, fungal infections, numbness, cracked heels, and weakened bones:
- Wounds that won’t heal. For the non-diabetic, a cut or scrape is usually no big deal and will heal quickly. That’s not always the case for people with diabetes, who may have damaged blood vessels from high blood sugar. Blood carries healing nutrients. However, damaged blood vessels can’t deliver that healing efficiently. Even a small wound may take a long time to heal or won’t heal at all.
- Fungal infections. People with diabetes are more prone to getting a fungal infection such as athlete’s foot. The fungi can spread if not treated promptly.
- Numbness. Is often a sign of peripheral neuropathy, which is damage to the nerves in the feet. Nerve damage is dangerous because you may not notice an injury to your feet – one reason why daily foot checks are so important for people with diabetes.
- Cracked heels. A diabetic’s skin can become dry due to nerve damage. If neglected, dryness in your heels can develop into cracks. In turn, these can evolve into deep fissures, creating a doorway for dangerous infections. Apply moisturizer daily to avoid the dangers of cracked heels.
- Weakened bones. One of the most alarming complications of diabetes happens to people with advanced neuropathy. Nerve damage causes loss of sensation and can evolve into Charcot foot – weak bones, collapsed joints, and foot or ankle deformities. Signs of Charcot foot include redness, warmth, swelling, and pain or soreness.
Any of these five conditions can lead to dire consequences for the diabetic, including lower limb amputation.
Our experienced podiatric surgeons, Dr. Craig B. Frey, Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, and Dr. Jim Swienconek, encourage our diabetic patients with any foot issues to take preventative measures quickly. Call Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland in Solon, Ohio at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We offer a modern office with the latest technology for podiatric patients in Portage, Geauga, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties, proudly serving our patients from Solon, Aurora, Bedford, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, and Twinsburg.