Uncontrolled sugar levels can affect the feet in a number of ways, which can cause poor circulation and nerve damage. These, in turn, can lead to a slew of complications of their own, like infection and changes in the shape of your feet, and in extreme cases of neglect, gangrene and amputation. In all long-standing and uncontrolled diabetics, foot complications remain the biggest cause for hospital admission worldwide. In general, diabetics’ circulation and nerve functions change resulting in loss of protective function and poorer response to healing. This can be devastating and could result in loss of limbs. When complications exist, the foot is at high risk for infection, deformity, injury and all the consequences of these. Ulceration, infection and deformity may cause tremendous limitation to the patient and dramatically affect his/her quality of life.
‘Prevention is better than cure’ remains the principle and definitive treatment. However, once complications exist, treatment needs to be aggressive and quick to slow down any further damage or worsening of the condition. This begins with optimal sugar control and may include one or more of the following: surgery, wound care, diabetic footwear, orthotics, education or generalised podiatric care.