Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood sugar. Unfortunately, the complications of high blood sugar extend far beyond your blood vessels. As many as 10% of all people with diabetes experience foot ulcers, and 24% of those with ulcers experience a limb amputation. Limb amputations related to diabetes are so common throughout the world, an amputation is performed on average every 30 seconds.
This is where podiatric care comes into play. Regular diabetic foot care at the Diabetic Foot and Wound Center in Bakersfield, California, can help reduce your risk of both foot ulcers and the need for limb amputation.
Here, our medical team discusses the importance of the role of a podiatrist in a diabetic’s life.
Common foot problems associated with diabetes
If you have diabetes, there are several different types of foot problems you may experience. Examples include:
- Nerve damage, also called neuropathy
- Charcot foot
- Frequent infections, including fungal infections
- Nail problems
This is just a small sample of the foot problems that could develop as a complication of diabetes. A podiatrist skilled in diabetic foot care can help you determine your specific risk factors for these conditions, what warning signs to watch for, and what preventive care you may need. In other words, a podiatrist is invaluable to a person with diabetes because they can prevent and treat foot-related complications of diabetes.
Understanding the cycle of pain, ulcers, and amputation
Nerve damage can cause pain, but sometimes it causes numbness. At first, numbness might sound preferable to pain, but there are many hidden dangers associated with foot numbness. For example, if you have a blister or cut, you might not realize it at first. The wounds are slow-healing due to poor circulation, and they can grow quickly. Treating these infections can be time-consuming and require extensive treatments. Sometimes, however, severe wounds can’t be repaired and, in those cases, amputations may be necessary.
Podiatric care works to prevent this cycle of pain, ulcers, and amputations. Regular foot exams can spot small problems before they snowball into bigger ones. During a foot exam, we review your medical history, discuss any symptoms you have, and examine your feet. Depending on your needs, you may benefit from a toenail trim, removal of excess skin on calluses, and removal of corns.
Diagnostic tests can also help assess your foot health so we can identify any other necessary treatments. Diagnostic tests include angiography, vascular ultrasounds, nerve conduction study, electromyography, and blood tests.
What if you already have a wound?
Podiatric care can help you prevent problems, but you can also benefit from podiatric care when problems arise between your regular foot exams.
If you have a wound on your foot, our medical team can reduce your risk of amputation through:
- Wound debridement
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Vascular treatment
You don’t need to wait until your wound grows. If you have diabetes, it’s important to seek foot care from an experienced podiatrist at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center right away. Whether you have heel pain, a fungal infection, or a slow-healing wound, our podiatric experts are here to provide every aspect of your foot care.
To make an appointment at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center in Bakersfield, call us at 661-238-7526. We also offer telehealth appointments and online scheduling for your convenience.