Last month, we defined the syndrome of diabetic foot and provided some tips for managing it at home. This month, Sideline Orthopedic and Sports Medicine reviews necessary orthopedic examination techniques and treatment protocols for this condition.
Diabetic foot patients should have regular checkups every 2-3 months, as well as an annual foot exam including skin inspections, temperature checks and sensation assessments by a podiatrist, or foot and ankle specialist. Some complications of Diabetic Foot requiring a podiatric assessment and treatment plan include:
- Cracked, dry, peeling skin, calluses, blisters, athlete’s foot and other minor infections.
- Foot ulcers need an extended non-weight bearing period in order to heal. Using a cast, if there’s no infection; or orthopedic inserts; canes; crutches or a wheelchair, depending on the ulcer’s severity; and antibiotics are common treatments.
- Toe-joint deformities such as hammertoes, claw toes or Charcot foot (significant weakness of the foot and increased tendency to fracture caused by neuropathy, or nerve damage) often require surgery, sometimes to remove the bone causing the deformity.
For more severe cases of diabetic foot, several other clinical protocols exist:
- Revascularization: A surgical procedure to remove an obstruction, restoring blood supply to organs or limbs.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Repairs soft tissue damage, reduces inflammation and stimulates red blood cell growth in treatment-resistant wounds.
- Vacuum-Assisted Closure: A sealed dressing with a vacuum-pump attached, placed on a treatment-resistant foot, ankle or lower-limb wound. This special dressing sucks fluid out of the wound, increasing blood circulation in blood vessels and bone marrow.
Please contact us at Sideline Orthopedics and Sports Medicine by calling (540) 552-7133 or request an appointment online. If you think you or a family member can benefit from either an initial examination or periodic check-ups for a diabetic foot condition from an outstanding podiatrist, our new foot-and-ankle specialist, Dr. Schopf, will be glad to manage your unique needs.