Question: What are the foot complications of diabetes and how are they treated?
Answer: Foot disease is a major problem in people with diabetes. These include the reduction of sensation, the inability to receive pain and temperature, the impairment of the blood supply, the increased succeptibility to infections. This then leads to repeated minor injury to the foot, the development of an ulcer, the ulcer allows microorganisms to enter, causing infection, and underlying osteomyelitis, culminating in destruction of the foot.
Fortunately, foot ulcers and amputations can be prevented at least half the time, if not more, by attention to a few small details: excellent glycemic control, prevention of neuropathy, prevention of deterioration of blood supply to the foot, as well as inspecting the foot on a regular basis. Being seen in the clinic with the shoes and socks off so the feet are inspected, attention to early areas that are suspicious that might lead to foot ulcerations and amputations, and at home, daily inspection of the feet, and mirror in the floor of the bathroom to inspect the feet, and monofilaments to take home to test the feet for sensation, and ultimately to test the temperature of the feet, because warmth in the feet predicts the development of a foot ulcer and infection. And with these small changes in the way we take care of our feet, we ought to able to reduce the likelihood of amputation significantly.