Diabetic Foot Pathology

This is the umbrella term given to conditions that occur in the foot as a direct result of long term diabetes including ulceration, infection and Neuropathic arthropathy.

Ulceration in the foot is a serious condition affecting 15% of patients suffering from diabetes and is as a result of the abnormal wound healing process that affects diabetics. If ulcers are caught early, treatment can include appropriate wound dressings in conjunction with treatment to speed up the healing process and orthotics to correct bio-mechanics. However, in more serious cases surgery may be required to clean and rebuild the dermal layer. In the most severe cases amputation may be required.

Patients suffering with diabetes have a greater than average chance of developing infections in the foot due to nerve damage and poor circulation associated with diabetes. An x-ray may be required to determine whether the bone is infected. Treatment can include antibiotics or surgery to remove the infected area.

Orthotics may be prescribed to protect the area. Neuropathic arthropathy is the progressive degeneration of a weight bearing joint in the foot as a direct result of diabetes. This can result in joint deformity, ulceration, infection and/or loss of function. Treatment can include casts to immobilise the joint and surgical correction of the deformity and in serious cases, amputation may be required. Orthotics can also be helpful to correct misaligned bio-mechanics.

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