Diabetes is a common condition affecting an increasing number of people in Australia and the developed world in general. It is usually managed by general practioners and hormone specialists called endocrinologists, however some people will be referred to orthopaedic surgeons. For general information, see Diabetes.
Foot problems in diabetes are very common. They can take a number of forms including:
- Skin problems - diabetics tend to have dry, brittle skin that cracks easily. This can lead to the formation of ulcers.
- Infection - often occurs around an ulcer but can also occur as an infection in the skin (cellulitis), the bone (osteomyelitis), or a general infection in your blood (sepsis).
- Deformity - the deformity of diabetes is also called 'charcot arthropathy', a medical term that mean changes in the joints due to problems with nerves. Common foot deformities in diabetes include:
- bony prominences,
- claw toes,
- Complications after other injuries
The best approach to diabetes is prevention of complications. When complications do occur, orthopaedic surgeons aim to help:
- relieve your pain,
- improve your ability to walk without pain or instability
- prevent the formation of ulcers over prominent edges of bone
- remove infected skin, soft tissue and bone.