A great majority of diabetic patients around the world suffer from diabetic foot disease. Diabetes is known to cause foot diseases due to neuropathy and increased blood sugar levels. Ulcers, peripheral vascular disease, and amputation are common in diabetic patients.
Bacterial infections and progressive ulcers of the foot are common foot problems with diabetes. Foot infections are generally chronic in nature and can last from months to years. Let us try to understand more about foot problems from complications with diabetes.
Complications Of Foot Problems In Diabetes
Foot infections in diabetic patients are of two types: localized and generalized. A localized foot infection affects only one location of the foot and does not spread to another part. It is characterized by localized swelling, redness, and pain. However, a generalized infection affects the entire foot and can spread to different parts of the foot. Foot infections are the primary cause for amputations in diabetic patients. Gram-positive bacteria are responsible for foot infections. Staphylococcus aureus are one of the most common types of bacteria that cause foot infections in diabetic patients.
Diabetic neuropathy can affect nerve system that transfers signals and produces sensation in the foot. It can result in tingling sensation in the foot. It can also cause loss of sensation as a consequence of neuropathic changes. Diabetic neuropathy of the foot is also responsible for ulcerations.
Moderate to severe pain is experienced in the foot due to neuropathy. Tight shoes and shoe straps can result in skin pressure initiating ulcers. This is one of the primary causes of foot ulcers in diabetic patients.
Diabetic foot ulcers are very common. Foot ulcers develop in diabetic patients as a consequence of macrovascular and microvascular changes in the feet. Diabetes can severely affect wound healing mechanism of body resulting in chronic ulcers. Progression of ulcer is further accelerated due to slow formation of granulation tissue in diabetic patients. A great majority of diabetic patients around the world undergo amputation due to chronic non-healing ulcers. Ulcers can also cause deformity of the foot due to degenerative tissue changes.
This condition is also known as diabetic foot. Charcot’s arthropathy can result in foot swelling, redness, and deformity of the toes. Deformity in Charcot’s arthropathy is not a consequence of trauma.
It is caused due to diabetic neuropathy. This disease condition can cause disability, fractures, and severe foot deformities resulting in decreased mobility. In the later stages, deformities can lead to collapse of arch of the midfoot. It is also known as “rocker bottom foot.”
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral vascular disease is a very common complication which affects feet in diabetic patients. This disease affects normal functioning of arteries that supply blood to lower extremity. The disease causes atherosclerotic (hardening of arteries) changes in the foot resulting in narrow arteries. This causes decreased blood supply to the affected foot. It results in the development of vascular ulcers on the foot. These ulcers are chronic in nature and are one of the primary causes of lower extremity amputations in diabetic patients.
There are different types of problems that affect the feet in diabetic patients. All of these foot problems result from inter-related diabetic complications.