Foot Care In Patients Who Have Diabetes

Constant Vigilance for Nonhealing Wounds

Diabetes exacerbates hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).  This vascular disease is particularly common in the lower extremities of diabetic patients.  Plaque deposit causes narrowing and blockage of arteries carrying blood to the foot (arterial disease that deprives foot tissue of oxygen) and poor blood flow from the foot (venous disease, that causes of pooling of oxygen-poor blood).  When areas of the feet become irritated from weigh-bearing and frictional forces, the lack of oxygen in these areas, caused by poor blood flow, makes healing difficult.  

In addition, vascular disease as well as metabolic factors related to diabetes, can cause atrophy of nerves in these same areas.  As a result, patients with diabetes often have reduced sensation in the feet, making it more difficult for them to know when they have a minor or even major wound that needs attention.  As a result, a simple blister or crack in the skin can turn into a serious condition.

Saving life and limb
With lack of blood flow and nerve function in their feet and lower legs, individuals with diabetes can develop chronic, nonhealing wounds in these extremities.  In addition to being debilitating, such wounds can become dangerous, leading to serious infection.  Sometimes gangrene results.  If the infection and loss of tissue cannot be reversed, the situation may dictate that the patient must lose the foot or limb through removal by amputation.  The potential for sepsis — a dangerous, whole-body response to severe infection — is also significant.

People with diabetes need special care for their feet.

Aria podiatrists are thoroughly trained in detecting and aggressively treating persistent ulcers and related conditions that can create such risks.  They use a detailed medical history, foot examination, and skin and blood-supply evaluation to determine the patient’s condition.  Diagnostic testing may include ultrasound, measurement of blood pressure in the ankle, and testing sensation in the foot, as well as x-rays, bone scans, and CT or MR imaging.  

Reversing risky wounds

The staff uses all of the latest methods of chronic wound healing, including topical care, debridement, artifical skin layers, and sophisticated bandaging and pressure relief. They collaborate with cardiologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, and other specialists using medical and interventional means to stabilize and improve circulatory, metabolic, and wound-site issues.

Prevention, of course, is the best treatment for diabetic foot conditions, and Aria’s staff puts special emphasis on teaching patients to examine, care for, and protect their feet.