18 May Foot Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic condition that is associated with an elevated level of glucose in the bloodstream. The condition can develop in a number of ways that may include:
- Type 1 diabetes – this condition develops as a result of dysfunctional or absent beta cells of the pancreas which produce insulin to drive glucose from the bloodstream to the cells of the body. Dysfunction of the beta cells can be caused injury to the pancreas via trauma or excessive alcohol intake but is mainly caused by antibodies produced by the body’s immune system which target and attack the insulin-producing cells.
- Type 2 diabetes – when the cells of the body are saturated with glucose, resistance towards insulin develops. The cells don’t allow insulin to work which results in elevated glucose levels in the bloodstream. This is referred to as insulin resistance and the cause behind it isn’t clear although genetic and environmental factors such as a family history of the condition and being overweight or obese, respectively, are thought to be involved. It is important to take note that not everyone with type 2 diabetes is obese or overweight.
- Gestational diabetes – this form of diabetes develops during pregnancy and the cause of the problem is similar to type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after the affected woman gives birth to her baby.
Since diabetes can lead to decreased blood flow to the tissues which also affects the nervous system, the condition can be particularly problematic for the feet.
Diabetic patients may end up dealing with foot-related problems such as:
- Small cuts and scrapes may go unnoticed and these wounds can become complicated leading to problems such as widespread infections which may result in taking drastic steps such as amputation of the affected area.
- Reduced blood flow back to the heart is another issue with diabetes and this can lead to venous ulcers forming around the ankles which are difficult to treat.
- If a patient sustains a small fracture in the foot they may also not be able to feel this problem and they continue mobilizing on the affected foot. This can end up leading to more serious issues which can also lead to amputation of the limb.
- Reduced oxygen and nutrient supply to the nerves of the feet and this can result in a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. Here, the patient experiences reduced sensation in the feet which makes ones unaware of issues such as any injuries sustained to the limbs.
- Callus formation due to high-pressure areas under the feet and these build up faster in diabetic patients.
- Hammertoes, which occur due to contractures of the ligaments in the toes, develop easier in individuals with diabetes due to the poorer blood circulation to these tissues.
Therefore, it is very important that diabetic patients control their glucose levels adequately to help avoid such problems.
Oasis Foot and Ankle Center
Oasis Foot and Ankle Center is a medical facility that specializes in foot and ankle care. Orthopedic surgeons and orthotists at this center manage patients with pathologies such as complications of a diabetic foot.