Diabetic Foot Care
Foot pain, numbness, infections, and even tissue death can all arise from diabetic complications in the feet. Such problems must be addressed as soon as possible should they arise, but the ideal approach is to take steps to keep them from developing in the first place.
At Advanced Foot and Ankle Centers of Illinois, we provide both direct treatment of urgent needs, as well as preventative care to reduce the risk of future complications. Having diabetes does not mean you are doomed to have foot problems, and we can help you maintain healthy and functional feet.
How Diabetes Affects the Feet
Diabetes can cause a number of detrimental effects throughout the body, and the feet are certainly no exception.
One of the primary diabetic complications that cause problems in the feet is the gradual narrowing and hardening of arteries (aka peripheral artery disease, or PAD). It is already more challenging for the feet to receive strong circulation given their distance from the heart, so the effects of further circulatory restrictions tend to hit them sooner and harder than other areas of the body.
Restricted blood flow and other effects of diabetes can also cause damage to the nerves of the feet, known as peripheral neuropathy. This can at first cause pain and tingling, but in more advanced stages lead to a lack of feeling in the feet.
PAD and peripheral neuropathy can open the way to even more serious problems. You might be more prone to injury, and also not feel when an injury has occurred. Undetected injuries may not be able to heal properly, allowing them to worsen into ulcers and become infected. You may even develop gangrene, a serious issue that can result in loss of the limb.
Additional problems that can be caused or exacerbated by diabetic complications include:
- Ingrown toenails
- Weakness and instability
Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Care
The primary goals of diabetic foot care are to address any current problems, but also reduce or eliminate the potential for future problems as much as possible.
Blood flow to the feet is a critical element in monitoring diabetic foot health and the potential for problems. That is why we provide in-office ABI testing for our patients. We use this tool to easily compare the circulation to your feet to elsewhere in the body, and can take early action to address concerning results or changes.
We will also perform thorough evaluations of other potential problem areas, such as areas of increased pressure or friction in the foot. Based on what we find, we may recommend treatments or preventative methods such as:
- Custom orthotics
- Protective pads and equipment
- Specialized diabetic shoes and socks
- Changes to footwear and activities
- Advanced treatments such as Aquaroll or laser therapy to promote improved blood flow and faster healing of injuries
Although certain changes might be best for protecting your feet, we want our patients to continue doing the things they love as much as possible. Whenever possible (and it very often is!), we can help you determine the best ways to stay active and pursue goals while still lowering the risks to your feet.
Diabetic Foot Care Now and Through the Future
If diabetes is a part of your life, then diabetic foot care should be part of your life as well.
Our doctors have experience evaluating, diagnosing, treating, and providing preventative care for a wide range of problems related to diabetes. Being proactive about your foot care now can help provide a much more comfortable and mobile future.
Call any of our area offices below to schedule an appointment. You can also fill out our contact form to request an appointment electronically.