When you were diagnosed with diabetes, you were probably warned about a host of possible complications. Untreated or poorly managed diabetes can lead to vision loss, high cholesterol and blood pressure, kidney failure, and heart attacks. You can also experience poor blood flow nerve damage which can affect your feet. When you lose sensation in your feet or do not have adequate blood flow to the area, you are susceptible to a variety of foot conditions that could cause permanent damage. Dr. Runkle treats these conditions in his South Indianapolis office. Under his care, you can prevent the serious and tragic consequences of diabetic foot problems.
The Damage Diabetes Can Do to Your Feet
Managing your diabetes is essential to your well-being and you should work with your primary care doctor to develop and maintain a treatment plan that gets your blood sugar under control. Along with monitoring your blood sugar, taking your insulin, and getting regular check-ups, you should have your feet examined regularly by a podiatrist to identify and treat the following possible conditions:
- Neuropathy. Unmanaged diabetes can cause nerve damage, particularly in the hands and feet. Called peripheral neuropathy, the condition can be painful, but usually causes a loss of sensation and limits the ability to feel pain. Because of this, you could injure your foot and not know it, making the injury even worse. A simple blister could become infected, leading to a chronic condition. Neuropathy can also cause the feet to become deformed, requiring the use of special shoes. Dr. Runkle will conduct regular examinations and provide wound treatment, therapeutic shoes, and more to successfully manage your neuropathy.
- Poor circulation. Diabetes can cause the blood vessels in the feet to narrow and harden, reducing vital blood flow. Poor circulation can make it difficult to fight infection and to heal wounds in the feet. The use of diabetic socks can help with poor circulation and regular visits to the podiatrist will help with wound care and infection prevention.
- Foot ulcers. Neuropathy and poor circulation can cause frequent foot ulcers, which must be treated by a doctor to avoid complications. Cleaning out the wound, providing antibiotics, and fitting the patient with special footwear may be required to manage foot ulcers.
- Calluses. People with diabetes are more prone to calluses on their feet, which can turn into ulcers if not treated. Because of their susceptibility to infection, patients should never try to treat their own calluses. Dr. Runkle can safely treat your calluses and provide footwear to prevent more calluses.
- Skin problems. If you have neuropathy, you may not have the nerve function to control oil and moisture in the feet, leading to severely dry and cracked skin, which could lead to infection. In our podiatry office, you will learn techniques for managing the dryness to prevent complications.
Foot care should be an important part of every diabetes patient’s healthcare plan. When the feet are not regularly examined and wounds are left untreated, the result could be such severe damage that an amputation is required. While this is a worst-case scenario, people with diabetes are much more likely than the rest of the population to require amputation and must then live with a disability that could have been prevented with proper care.
Dr. Runkle’s Team Will Treat You Right
The best thing you can do to prevent foot amputation or serious injury is to properly manage your blood sugar through diet, exercise, and medication. However, when you struggle to manage your diabetes and begin to feel a tingling or loss of feeling in your feet, you need to see a podiatrist as soon as possible. Working with your primary care doctor’s recommendations for managing your diabetes, our podiatry team will help you prevent the kinds of foot problems that can easily spiral out of control. If you have diabetes, make Center Grove Foot and Ankle Care a part of your treatment team.