At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC, we believe in helping all of our patients be well-informed and proactive about their podiatric health. For our patients with diabetes, however, the risk of serious complications from even minor foot health issues is elevated and therefore we want to share some information about a condition of particular concern: peripheral neuropathy.
Neuropathy is another word for nerve damage and peripheral refers to your hands and arms or legs and feet. Below are some facts about this condition which is frequently associated with diabetes.
FACT: Peripheral neuropathy can affect any of the three types of nerves: sensory, motor or autonomic.
FACT: When the sensory nerves are attacked, you may experience numbness, tingling, burning or pain. Loss of sensation can make it difficult to perceive heat or pain, making it possible to sustain an injury or irritation to your foot without your realizing it. Left untreated, this can lead to an ulcer on your foot.
FACT: The autonomic nerves control perspiration and oil glands. Damage to these nerves can result in very dry skin that leads to cracks which can be an entry point for infection-causing bacteria.
FACT: Motor nerve damage can cause muscle weakness and loss of muscle tone. This may change the shape of your foot and make it more susceptible to pressure from footwear.
FACT: As a patient, you can help prevent the development of peripheral neuropathy by being very diligent about keeping your sugar levels under control. It’s also important to have regular checkups with the doctors who are managing your diabetes (which includes your podiatrist).
FACT: Diabetic patients should inspect their feet daily. If you notice any redness, bruising, cuts, blisters, rashes or changes in shape, nail or skin color, it’s important that you notify our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko immediately. Please call our Valley Stream (516-825-4070) or Lake Success (516-327-0074) office immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for preventing a sore or ulcer from developing.