One of the major complications of diabetes is that it affects the feet , leading to non healing wounds ,called TROPHIC ULCERS in the bottom of the feet. In severe cases, this can even lead to amputation at the knee level!.
Let’s understand the diabetic foot symptoms. Now this process happens in 4 stages .
1. Diabetic Neuropathy/ (Diabetic Nerve Disease)
Firstly, the nerves of the feet get damaged due to uncontrolled sugar levels. At this stage, patients may have symptoms like burning sensation in the feet, numbness or cramps in the feet, especially at night . At times, this can be unbearable. At this stage proper control of sugar levels, and certain medicines to alleviate the pain can remarkably reverse the damage due to diabetic neuropathy .
But more often than not, people ignore these symptoms, leading to the second stage, called callous formation . Callous are thickening of the skin in the bottom of the feet, especially below the great toe, due to abnormal pressure points, caused due to diabetic neuropathy. At this stage, you may develop pain in the area where the callous is present, while walking. In time, small punched out ring-like holes form in the location of callouses.These are called TROPHIC ULCERS, ,the third stage .In our centre, our podiatrist (diabetic foot care) department , prevent formation of such ulcers, by a process called chiropody. What we do is, carefully remove the hard callous with special blades, so that the pressure is relieved. This process, called chiropody, is like nail cutting, and is virtually painless.
3. Diabetic Foot Ulcer:
Once a diabetic foot ulcer develops, it is extremely difficult to get rid of it. The 2 important treatment aspects are sugar control and foot pressure relief. No amount of antibiotics or dressings can heal the wound. Many of you who are reading this article, may have experienced this, with your family members. The wound keeps coming back and forth, despite several dressings. Using specialized instruments, called BIOTHESIOMETER, DOPPLER & PODISCANNER, we scan the extent of nerve damage, blood vessel blocks and abnormal pressure points in the feet, and, advise specific footwear for pressure relief. Only with proper pressure relief, will the diabetic foot ulcers heal.
If these ulcers are ignored, one fine day the toes (most commonly great toe) gcan get infected, leading to amputation of the toe. This is the advanced stage, where the patient is referred for surgery. If the blood flow to the feet has been compromised due to diabetes, then people may often lose their limb as well. This is what we try to prevent at all costs. If you do not want to land in this situation, we have a simple mantra – CONTROL YOUR DIABETES FROM EARLY ON.