Diabetes can potentially create a perfect storm of health complications. Sometimes these lead to sores or ulcers on the feet that go unnoticed and don’t heal. While most foot ulcers heal with proper foot care, one that does not may lead to severe infection, necrosis, or amputation. Since November is National Diabetes Month, our podiatrist in NYC at Foot and Ankle Surgeons of New York would like to discuss diabetic limb salvage, an effective treatment approach for patients with an at-risk limb. Continue reading to learn more.
What Is Diabetic Limb Salvage?
Diabetes can cause a dangerous combination of nerve damage and impaired blood circulation that contribute to ineffective wound healing in your lower extremities. High blood sugar levels can also cause damage to the muscle and nerve functions of your feet, causing wounds not to heal normally. As a result, foot ulcers can lead to long-lasting effects like infection, tissue damage, or even foot amputation. Walking around on a damaged foot can also lead to fractures and foot deformities. For diabetic patients, treatment for foot issues can include custom orthotics or surgical options. Diabetic limb salvage is a highly complex process that involves various techniques that share the goal of preserving the limb as much as possible and lowering the risk of future infections. This procedure involves removing any dead tissue and replacing damaged bone so that the entire limb does not have to be amputated and can function properly. If you are a patient with diabetes, any slow-healing wound should be cause for concern. However, you should schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in NYC for amputation prevention if your wound is:
- Swollen or red.
- Surrounded by dead, black skin.
- Irritated or painful.
Once the limb is saved, patients with diabetes should focus on taking care of it as they would any other part of their body. They must continue to avoid injury and keep track of foot ulcers or sores that might indicate a problem with circulation or nerve damage. Patients may need to take antibiotics for a period of time to prevent future infections.
For patients with diabetes, the fear of amputation is very real and very justified. This makes diabetic limb salvage a desirable option to turn this potentially devastating scenario into something far more positive. At Foot and Ankle Surgeons of New York, our team is dedicated to helping diabetic patients preserve and enjoy their limb health. To learn more about diabetic limb salvage, be sure to contact our podiatrist in NYC today!