If you or a family member has diabetes, you understand the importance of good foot care. Diabetics face a double challenge when it comes to foot issues. First, diabetes causes nerve damage or neuropathy. Neuropathy results in a loss of feeling in your feet making it more difficult to notice pain and discomfort and, therefore, minor foot problems often become major because lack of sensation doesn’t allow them to be detected in the early stages. Second, people with diabetes often have poor circulation, which reduces the ability to resist infection and to heal once an injury or infection occurs. At Blue Ridge Foot & Ankle Clinic we believe that your podiatrist can play a key role in helping keep diabetic feet healthy. A diabetic patient should have regular check-ups with a foot doctor. In addition to preventative care, our board certified podiatrists, Dr. Stewart M. Chang and Dr. Kevin P. Murray will be watchful for many conditions that are of particular concern to diabetic patients, including:
Infections and sores (ulcers)—Even a seemingly minor cut or small blister can develop into a very serious danger for diabetic patients. Infections can quickly develop on the surface and progress down to the bone.
Dry, cracked skin—Diabetic patients are more prone to dry, cracked skin than other patients, due to poor circulation. If not kept under control, this can become an entry point for bacteria to enter and an opportunity for sores to form.
Corns and calluses—Neuropathy makes it difficult to tell if your shoes are putting pressure on your feet and causing corns or calluses, which, if left untreated, can develop into ulcers.
Nail disorders—Ingrown toenails and fungal infections are more common and more threatening among diabetic patients.
Charcot foot—This is a complex foot deformity that occurs when a broken bone goes undetected and, because the patient doesn’t feel the pain and continues to walk on it, soft tissue destruction occurs. Charcot foot is a severe and disabling condition that surgery may become necessary.
One way to ensure healthy feet if you are a diabetic is to set up a consultation with one of our podiatrists and establish good habits of care, as well as a regular schedule of visits to examine and care for your feet. Call either our Fishersville or Charlottesville office today or schedule an appointment online.