Diabetes Foot Problems
Symptoms and treatment of diabetes foot problems
Diabetes is a relatively common disease, but many people aren't aware of the associated conditions that can develop as a result of it. Among the most common of these are diabetes foot problems, which encompass a number of different conditions both minor and serious.
Many diabetes sufferers either don't notice or don't treat their foot conditions, thinking that they are simply a symptom of their disease that will pass in time. This attitude can be dangerous, however, as even the most minor foot problems can become serious if left untreated. It's best to report all symptoms to a doctor who is aware of your diabetic history.
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Diabetes Foot Problem Symptoms
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can present with a number of symptoms, including fatigue, blurred vision, unusual hunger and a frequent need to urinate. The lesser-known symptoms (or more aptly, complications) are the following diabetes feet problems:
- Diabetes Charcot foot. Diabetes Charcot foot is a condition in which the nerves in the feet are damaged (known as diabetes foot neuropathy), limiting their ability to sense pain and trigger the foot's reflexes. Because of this, the joints, cartilage and ligaments in the foot are more prone to injury and damage. Symptoms of Charcot foot include redness and heat in the foot, joint dislocation, instability and swelling.
- Diabetes foot ulcer. Because of the nerve and vascular damage caused to the feet by diabetes that reduces pain receptors, foot ulcers may develop. Bruising, blistering and other injuries to the foot may go undetected or unreported (because there is no pain), which can lead to mild or severe ulcers. Symptoms of severe ulcers include open wounds that are slow to heal, blackening skin and abscesses.
- Diabetes and feet swelling. Swollen feet in diabetics is a fairly common occurrence. The vascular disease or issues that often present with diabetes cause poor circulation, which can lead to foot swelling. Symptoms of foot swelling including puffiness, redness and achiness or pain.
Diabetes Foot Problem Treatment
Treatment of diabetes foot problems will depend on the particular condition, but all symptoms of foot problems should be reported to a doctor as soon as possible, to help limit the damage and establish a treatment plan.
Early treatment for Charcot foot is especially critical, to limit the deterioration of the joints. Doctors will use X-rays to determine the severity of the condition, and then may use surgical or non-surgical measures to treat it. Non-surgical measures include special shoes and braces, modified activity and stabilizing and immobilizing the foot for a period of time.
Treatment of foot ulcers, depending on the severity, may include removing dead tissue and cleansing the wound, having the patient stay off the foot completely until healed, and applying medications to prevent infection.
Treatment of swollen feet may include a combination of dietary changes, orthotics and elevation of the feet. Your doctor can assess the severity of the swelling, and recommend a treatment plan.