People living with diabetes who do not properly manage their blood sugar levels are at a greater risk of developing problems that cause chronic foot pain and other debilitating discomforts. When left untreated or improperly managed, diabetic foot conditions can lead to serious—and even potentially irreversible—complications.
Discussed below are a few of the most common diabetic foot conditions and their corresponding symptoms, how they are treated, and where to find first-rate diabetic foot pain treatment in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a common diabetes-related disorder that occurs when fatty deposits in the blood vessels in the legs build-up, leading to a blockage or constriction of the blood vessels, and consequently, the limited blood supply to the feet. As a result, foot injuries, infections, and ulcers may heal slowly or poorly and may lead to more serious conditions, such as tissue death (gangrene), which warrants an amputation.
Apart from delayed or poor healing of wounds, symptoms of peripheral vascular disease include:
- Pain in the buttocks
- Numbness, weakness, or tingling sensation in the legs
- Burning pain in the feet and toes even while resting
- A cold feeling in one or both legs or feet
- A change in the color of the legs (pale, bluish, dark reddish)
- Loss of hair on the legs
- Absence of or weak pulse in the legs
Peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that often affects the nerves in the legs and feet, causing a variety of symptoms, including:
- Tingling or burning sensation
- Gradual loss of feeling in the legs, and feet
Like PVD, peripheral neuropathy can lead to potentially irreversible complications because, as stated, it can prevent you from feeling pain, meaning foot injuries or conditions can go undetected.
Charcot foot is a rare but serious complication of diabetes, affecting people living with peripheral neuropathy. The destructive effects of the condition start with a cycle of uncontrolled inflammation of the bones, joints, and soft tissues of the foot or ankle and can eventually lead to the weakening and even breaking of the bones and dislocation of the joints.
If not treated in its earliest stage, Charcot foot can cause the joints in the foot to collapse and become permanently deformed.
Charcot foot develops in three stages: fragmentation and destruction, coalescence, and reconstruction. The following are symptoms of the condition associated with each of the stages of development.
First Stage- Fragmentation and Destruction
- Redness or swelling of the ankle or other areas in the foot
- Warm feeling at the site of injury
- Deep, aching feeling
- Loss of joint stability
Second Stage- Coalescence
- Redness and swelling
Third Stage- Construction
- Permanent deformity
Treatment for Diabetic Foot Pain
Diabetic foot pain warrants a visit to a foot doctor, who will examine the patient’s feet and determine the appropriate course of treatment based on the results of the evaluation.
Treatment for diabetic foot pain is individualized and will depend on the cause and the severity of the diabetic foot condition.
Nonsurgical treatments for diabetes-related foot problems include:
- Splinting, bracing, or casting, to correct bone deformities
- Footwear or custom-walking boot to provide structure and improve blood circulation
- Medications or treatments for infections and skin ulcers
- Wound care (cleaning and dressing of the wound)
- Close observation (to check for deterioration or progression of the conditions
- Physical therapy exercise to boost blood flow to the feet
Surgery may be necessary if non-surgical treatments do not work successfully or to:
- Stabilize the foot
- Repair damage within the foot structure if there are severe deformities
- Resolve advanced skin ulcers
- Salvage a limb/foot via debridement (surgical removal of necrotic tissue and wound bed tissue to stimulate healing) in combination with pressure alleviation, metabolic control, and antibiotics
In extreme cases, surgical amputation of the toes, foot, or leg may be required to prevent further complications and protect the surrounding healthy tissues.
Diabetic Foot Pain Treatment in Bismarck, ND
If you are experiencing diabetic foot pain, visit us at the Bone & Joint Center for a consultation with our board-certified foot surgeon, Dr. Chad Carlson. He offers a vast variety of nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for the full range of conditions and injuries that affect the feet and ankle. He will perform a thorough physical evaluation of your feet and craft a comprehensive treatment plan that helps slow the progression of your diabetic foot condition and prevent the onset of complications.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Carlson, M.D., please call our office at (800) 424-2663. Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment by calling (701) 946-7400 / (866) 900-8650.