Diabetic disorders are considered a major global health issue. The associated complications of unmanaged blood glucose levels have become a point of concernfor healthcare providers as well as patients.


If you or your loved ones are diagnosed with uncontrollable blood sugar levels, then you must be worried about common foot complications and the associated morbidity. Complications like nerve damage and poor blood circulation are linked to non-healing ulcers that lead to amputation or even untimely death.


Therefore, preventive strategies like routine diabetic foot care are highly recommended. In today’s post, we discuss everything about diabetic foot complications, treatment, and prevention strategies.


Risk factors of diabetic foot ulcers


Diabetic foot complications have become a health burden on society. It is one of the biggest reasons for hospitalization. The later stage of foot ulcers negatively impacts the quality of life. Moreover, the lack of early intervention even increases the risk of lower limb amputation and life-threatening morbidity.


Low glycaemic control:Clinical trials have been conducted for early intensive treatment of glycaemic control to reduce the risk of diabetic foot ulcers. Your body’s ability to heal a wound is directly linked with glycaemic control. If you are unable to manage the blood sugar levels, it increases the chances of developing diabetic foot complications.


Peripheral neuropathy: The extent to which nerve damage and blood circulation damage have occurred is associated with the risk factor of foot ulcers. It majorly affects the dermal tissue layers and contributes to the risk factors of developing ulceration. 


Peripheral vascular disease: The narrowing of blood vessels is a slow and progressive disorder. Studies have revealed that around 30% of the diabetic population is suffering from complications of peripheral vascular disease. The disorder results in coldness and numbness in the legs, which affect the ability to feel or detect ulcers at the onset.


Immunosuppression: Diabetes adversely affects our body’s capability to fight infection by suppressing the immune system. It results in frequent infections and causes severe symptoms of diabetic foot.


Signs to identify a diabetic foot


It is highly recommended to schedule an appointment for a thorough diabetic foot exam if you notice any of the below listed symptoms:


Numbness and tinglingBurning sensationsPain and difficulty in walkingSwelling and rednessFoot injury that doesn’t healBlack and smelly injuries


Tingling and numbness are the most common complications that affect the quality of life of diabetics. It is advised to conduct foot exams on a daily basis and check for any signs of infection. Seek immediate treatment for any cut, blister or foot injury that is not healing and results in swelling or redness.


How are diabetic feet diagnosed?

Diabetic foot complications are assessed and diagnosed by podiatrists, who are specialists in the lower extremities. When you visit a podiatrist for a diabetic foot exam, the following tests are  conducted:

Neurological screening: A tuning fork is used to assess the pinprick sensations, reflexes, and threshold for vibration. This helps in detecting the extent of damage done by peripheral neuropathy.Foot deformity assessment: Podiatrists also diagnose Charcot foot deformity and signs of hallux valgus and muscle wasting.Dermatological assessment: Epidermal tissues are thoroughly assessed to find calluses, blisters, cuts, wounds, etc.Vascular tests:A variety of tests, including Doppler ultrasound, are conducted to identify the stage of peripheral arterial disease.


An annual assessment is highly recommended for diabetic feet. Even if you don’t have any signs of infection or redness, it is still recommended to get yourself checked to reduce the risk of developing diabetic foot.


Diabetic Foot Ulcer Treatment

In the case of an infection, injury or any foot complication, doctors are likely to recommend treatments to improve the function and minimize the pain and symptoms of infection.

Unfortunately, nerve damage cannot be treated with medicine, though below are your treatment options for diabetic foot infections:


Antibiotics to treat infectionSurgical intervention for bone deformitiesPhysical therapy for strengtheningNew Balance Diabetic Shoes for improved function


Diabetic foot prevention strategies

If someone is diagnosed with a diabetic disorder, they are at a lifetime risk of developing a non-healing ulcer. Therefore, prevention is important. This is what you can do to minimize the risk of lower limb amputation.


Strategize balanced glycaemic controlCheck your feet daily to identify sores, blisters, or cuts that lead to ulcers and severe infectionsVisit your podiatrist for a routine foot examinationKeep your feet clean and dry, especially the skin between your toesWear well fitted shoes; consult a podiatrist to find the right kind of footwearTrim your toenails straight, or leave it to the foot doctor to reduce the risk of infectionsProtect your feet from extreme temperatures.Staying active is important for blood flow, though aconsultation is recommended to find the most suitable exerciseSmoking leads to amputations in diabetics. Quit smoking.


Final words

Diabetic foot complications are devastating. Lack of preventive strategies is the underlying reason that 24% of diabetics in the United States are dealing with severe morbidity and lower limb amputation. To reduce the risk of severe complications, consult with a board certified Podiatrist Orange County Foot & Ankle Group. Their multidisciplinary team efficiently addressed the diabetic foot and wound care needs of thousands of patients.