Southern Oregon Podiatrists Answer Your Top Questions About Foot and Ankle Pain
Stop questioning your foot and ankle pain. Start getting answers! Read our FAQ articles for tips from our Southern Oregon podiatrists to help you feel better and get healthy.
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What are diabetic ulcers?
Diabetics often have decreased sensation in their feet due to the development of neuropathy and a reduced capacity for healing wounds. These two factors explain why ulcers in the feet are the leading cause of hospital visits for those with diabetes. An ulcer is an open wound that is caused by a break in the skin that doesn’t heal. The effects of diabetes can be further compounded by excessive pressure to the feet. Patients often find that these sores develop and fail to heal with the constant pressures that come with improper footwear. This foot condition is commonly denoted by inflammation of the afflicted area, a gradual increase in pain, and in some cases, pus and a bad odor.
Without proper treatment, diabetic ulcers can develop into more severe conditions and have been the precursors to many amputation cases. To get ahead of the pain and learn what you can do for your health, schedule an appointment online with Dr. Evan Merrill, or call our Medford, OR office at 541.776.3338.
Why is foot care so important if you have diabetes?
The goal of diabetic foot care is to prevent serious problems by catching them in the early stages, when they can still be treated effectively. Complications of diabetes include neuropathy (nerve damage) and poor circulation. These conditions make it harder to detect a blister or cut and slow down its healing time. That increases your risk of developing ulcers, infection, and possible amputations.
Take the time to keep your feet clean, dry, and moisturized; inspect them every day for any small injuries or other symptoms; and wear socks and shoes to prevent contact with anything that can damage them. This is so important, because keeping your feet healthy helps you stay active, which is an important way of managing diabetes. For excellent treatment of your foot problems and more tips on practicing good foot care at home, call Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. in Medford at (541) 776-3338 and set up an appointment with Dr. Evan Merrill. We want to help you keep your feet fit!
How does diabetes cause nerve damage?
Diabetic neuropathy can occur as the result of an accumulation of diabetic effects. Excessive levels of blood sugar, or glucose, increase the rate of damage to the tender nerve fibers. As blood glucose levels rise, the nerves often lose the ability to transmit signals back to the brain. High blood sugar also diminishes the strength of the capillary walls which reduces the ability of the body to supply oxygen and nutrients to heal the damaged areas.
Without the ability to heal, the nerves are unable to transmit sensory information to the brain. This can become especially dangerous as many patients with diabetic neuropathy develop wounds that go unchecked due to loss of feeling.
You are an invaluable part of your diabetic care team, but you’re not alone. Dr. Evan Merrill and his expert staff will monitor your foot health and help you keep your feet in great shape. Call our office at 541-776-3338, orschedule an appointment online.
How can I prevent diabetic foot complications?
The best way to prevent complications from diabetes is by managing the disease. It is important to keep control of your nutrition and to exercise regularly in order to keep glucose levels within a healthy range and prevent neuropathy. Due to nerve damage, it is important to check your feet daily. Look for cuts, scratches, or any unusual discoloration. Finding problems early will help to prevent infection. Carefully wash and keep your feet clean daily as well, in order to prevent the risk of fungal or bacterial infections.
Wear shoes that fit and are comfortable. Proper shoes will protect your feet from unnecessary cuts and scratches and help to support them. It is essential to provide the attention necessary for any type of wound on your feet before they risk becoming infected.
Keep your feet moving and keep your blood flowing. When sitting for long periods of time, take breaks to stand up and walk around. When relaxing, keep your feet up and wriggle your toes.
The most important thing you can do for your foot health when you have diabetes is to make regular appointments with a podiatrist! Check-ups will help to catch early warning signs for diseases like Charcot foot, and a foot specialist like Dr. Evan Merrill can provide helpful tips and advice for better care.
What complications of diabetes affect my feet?
The most common diabetic foot problem is called neuropathy. This describes nerve damage in the feet caused high levels of glucose in the blood. This nerve damage causes loss of sensation in the feet, preventing feelings of hot, cold, or pain.
Another common complication is peripheral vascular disease, which affects the circulation and blood flow to the feet. Lack of proper blood flow slows down the healing of any sores and cuts. This can lead to a higher risk for skin and nail complications such as athlete’s foot, ingrown toenails, and ulcers.
When nerve damage and poor circulation are present, it is extremely difficult for wounds to heal and increases the risk for infection. In order to prevent infections from spreading, sometimes amputation is necessary. Diabetes is the most common cause of leg amputation (not resulting from injury). In order to prevent amputation, it is imperative that diabetes is managed correctly and symptoms are watched daily.