In this day and age foot ulcers have become a very common occurrence due to the rise of diabetes in the American population. Having diabetes increases the risk of developing a foot ulcer. This happens because having a consistently high blood sugar level can damage the body’s nerves causing neuropathy. Neuropathy is a condition where the nerves of the body do not function properly and can cause numbness and tingling of the hands and feet. Neuropathy can also affect the systems of the body that control blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, bowel and bladder emptying, and digestion. When these nerve problems occur it makes it difficult to feel sensation in the feet. So increased friction and pressure can then lead to skin breakdown and ulcer or sore of the foot.
I had a patient that came in for a wound on the bottom of his foot. This gentlemen was a 55 year old male, who was an avid golfer, and had a history of diabetes. One day he went out and played 18 holes of golf and upon preparing his dinner back at home, he noticed that there were bloody foot prints all over his apartment floor. At first he thought, who was in his apartment that made these bloody foot prints? But then he soon realized, after he sat down and looked at the bottom of his feet, that he was responsible for the mess. He saw something lodged into his foot and pulled out a golf tee from the center of his right foot. He remembered earlier in the morning that he possibly dropped a golf tee in his shoe and then played golf all day on it. He was unaware that he had neuropathy and that he could not feel the injury to his foot when it initially happened. A person with normal sensation would immediately feel the foreign object in their shoe and would promptly remove it. However, with neuropathy the feelings of the foot can be so diminished that even sharp objects puncturing the skin do not cause pain.
So what can we do to prevent these things from happening?
- Establish a relationship with your primary care physician to manage your diabetes.
- Establish a relationship with a podiatrist so that he/she can monitor the health of your feet and prevent any possible problems before they arrive.
- Check your feet regularly morning and night to identify any scrapes, bruises, redness, openings in the skin, swelling, and any other abnormal findings. Then report them to your podiatrist.
- Examine your shoes for any problems such as foreign objects or worn down insoles that have holes.
- Exercise regularly and control your diet.
- If an opening in the skin does occur, immediately call your podiatrist so that it can be treated without further complications.
The doctors of Advanced Podiatry are very experienced with all types of ulcerations to the lower extremity and can develop a treatment plan to heal the wounds effectively and efficiently. We utilize advanced wound care solutions to heal them rapidly to avoid complications such as infections and emergency surgeries. We do utilize minimally invasive surgical techniques to help correct problem areas in order to prevent ulcerations. A tendon release in the office takes about four minutes to complete and can stop the development of ulcers to the tips of the toes. Some patients have toes that are contracted and by releasing the tendon the toe straightens out thus relieving pressure to the tip of the toe. Simple but effective solutions are readily available at Advanced Podiatry and the doctors will develop a treatment plan tailored to the individual patient’s needs. Please make an appointment today by calling 813-875-0555. If you have an open wound please inform the staff of that so they can schedule you to come in immediately. Remember complications of diabetes are preventable we just have to be proactive when little problems arise so that big complications can be prevented.