What causes diabetic foot problems?

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Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects nearly 24 million Americans. People with diabetes have difficulties producing or using insulin.  This results in high blood sugar levels.

Patients with diabetes may develop a variety of foot problems. There are several reasons why diabetic foot problems occur.

Neuropathy

Diabetes can damage the nerves and cause a painful condition called peripheral neuropathy.  Patients with neuropathy have a reduced ability to feel pain, heat and cold. This means that they may not feel a foot injury until it becomes serious.

Nerve damage from neuropathy may also cause foot deformities. Forcing deformed feet and toes into regular shoes can be painful and can cause further foot injury and deformation.  Tanglewood Foot Specialists offers a diabetic shoe program.  These special therapeutic shoes can prevent calluses, foot ulcers and other injuries that can lead to infection and even foot amputation.  The cost of the shoes is covered by Medicare Part B and many private insurance companies for those who qualify.  To learn more about our Houston diabetic shoe program, contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists.

Poor Circulation
Diabetes causes the blood vessels of the foot and leg to narrow and harden.  This reduces blood flow to the feet. Reduced blood flow may cause feet to feel cold; however, it is dangerous for diabetics to warm their feet as they may not be able to tell when their feet get too hot.  Heating the feet can cause burns and other foot injuries.

Poor circulation also makes it more difficult for foot injuries to heal and makes the body less able to fight infection.

Infection
Because of poor circulation, diabetic foot injuries such as foot ulcers, calluses, and cracking feet can easily become infected.  Regular diabetic foot care can prevent injuries and infection and help speed healing.  Any sign of infection on a diabetic foot needs to be evaluated immediately to ensure it will heal quickly and completely.

Amputation
More than half of all foot and leg amputations are related to diabetes. Most amputations occur when foot ulcers becomes so infected that there is no other way to treat the injury.  However, with pre-emptive diabetic foot care, most foot amputations can be prevented.

Prevention and Diabetic Foot Care
Foot problems are the most common cause of hospital admissions for diabetic patients.  At Tanglewood Foot Specialists , we believe that prevention is the best medicine.  While we treat the foot pain and injury caused by diabetes, we also work with our patients to prevent further foot injury.  Regular diabetic foot care can ease foot pain, fight infection and prevent amputation. Call our office at (713) 785-7881 to lean about diabetic foot care and injury prevention.

If you are diabetic and have a foot injury, call our office immediately.  Quick treatment is the best way to prevent complications.  Because time is of the essence, we offer immediate appointments to our diabetic patients.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.