There are several ways people can hurt their feet and ankles. Injuries from trauma or wear and tear are two of the most common reasons people have foot problems. Foot problems are also a common issue for people with diabetes. If the disease doesn’t cause the problem, it can still hinder your recovery.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bryan King and the medical team at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute have extensive experience diagnosing and treating foot problems. Here, they share the foot and ankle issues related to diabetes.
Anyone can have foot problems, but people with diabetes have a higher chance of developing severe issues. Poorly managed diabetes, over time, can lead to diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage.
Diabetic neuropathy can occur in nerves anywhere in your body, but it mostly affects the nerves in your legs and feet. Symptoms of neuropathy include pain, tingling, swelling, and numbness.
These symptoms can be dangerous if they keep you from feeling pain or cuts on your feet. Not feeling pain means that you might not know you have a cut or injury on your feet and, therefore, not treat it promptly.
Additionally, diabetes can affect your circulation. Poor circulation means that wounds and cuts take longer to heal.
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common foot issues related to diabetes. Nearly half of all people with diabetes have some type of neuropathy. As mentioned above, neuropathy can lead to numbness, which means you won’t feel the sting or pain of a cut or blister.
Poor circulation, related to your diabetes, means the injury is likely to heal quickly on its own, making it more important for you to realize you have a wound and get it treated.
This combination of factors increases the likelihood that a minor foot issue can turn into a major problem. Other common foot issues that can turn more severe for people with diabetes include foot calluses, foot ulcers, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts.
If your wound or ulcer gets infected and doesn’t heal, it can lead to gangrene. A severely infected foot may need to be amputated to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of your body.
The good news is that you can prevent diabetes-related foot problems by managing your diabetes, checking your feet daily for cuts, blisters, or other issues, and seeing us immediately if you notice a problem.
Are you experiencing foot or ankle pain? Call Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to make an appointment for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.