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Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Diabetic Foot


The diabetic foot is a form of peripheral neuropathy which is most common type of nerve damage among the diabetes. It comes with so much pain and numbness and sometimes burning feeling to the feet and hands. Peripheral nerves are long that extend from the brain to the legs.

The culprit points to the high blood sugar level that brings damage to these nerves. The symptoms could be severe and usually with tingling in the feet and some burning sensation. There is loss of sensation that eventually put one at risk for foot problems like foot ulcers and infections. About half of the diabetics suffer from diabetic neuropathy.

Here’s a video on Diabetic Foot Examination - OSCE Guide
There can be an improvement as time goes by especially if the cause is treatable. There are medications and tools to use to reduce the pain caused by the diabetic foot like the Rebuilder 300 - Neuropathy Treatment . But make sure to get as much information first.

There will be a lot of issues to cover on this topic. We’ve only just begun with the definition. There are others we have to be concerned about like the symptoms, types, causes, the members of the health care team, the risks, prevention, complications, management and treatment.

We will also cover such things as where to get help or advice, diagnosis and tests, alternative treatment, home remedies and natural cures and of course that good old lifestyle changes. That is where treatment should start: eating healthy foods and moving more.

Damage to the nerves is the most common complication with the accompanying painful sensations. We know how this happens but mostly it is because of the high blood sugar level that is neglected more often than we want to admit.

There are four types of diabetic neuropathy of which we have already discussed the peripheral neuropathy. This is where we are getting a lot of questions on how to deal with this. The other three types are autonomic, focal and proximal.

Proximal neuropathy causes pains in the hips and buttocks which could make the legs weak while focal neuropathy causes weakness in any nerve. How about autonomic neuropathy, you asked? Well, this causes changes to digestion, bowel and bladder function, sexual reaction and to the nerves that affect the eyes, lungs, blood pressure and heart.

We will cover the aforementioned in details from one month to the next but for now let us deal with the diabetic foot. Management of this condition takes many forms. There’s eat healthy, exercise. Stop prolonged pressure and avoid things that cause damage to the nerves.

There is also the daily foot care we must undertake. We have to examine the feet for cuts, blisters, sores, redness and swelling. Call the doctor if some bruise does not heal after a day. Wash your feet with warm water every day but make sure you test the temperature of the water first.

Dry the feet well together with the area between the toes. Using the talcum powder can keep the skin dry. Put lotion or cream on top and the bottom of the feet but not between the toes. Socks and shoes should be worn at all times but not tight ones because these can make the pain worse.

Get some relief for diabetes leg pain. Doctors often give oral medications but there are other treatments. Talk to the members of your health care team for some options. Those who are suffering from severe pain may be get help from a combination of treatment.

Some medications include tricyclic antidepressants like duloxetine, anticonvulsants like pregabalin, and opoids and opoid-like drugs like oxycodone. Pregabalin and duloxetine are FDA approved for painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

The trouble with medications is that they have side effects. That is why some are not recommended for people with heart problems. Neither are some over the counter drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen recommended as they do not work well and have serious side effects.

Treatments can be applied to the skin like capsaicin cream and lidocaine patches. Researches have shown that nitrate patches for the feet and nitrate sprays may ease the pain. Also alpha-lipoic acid and evening primrose oil have relieved the symptoms.

A bed cradle can also keep the blankets and sheets from touching the sensitive feet and legs. Then there is biofeedback, acupuncture and physical therapy may ease the pain in some. Some forms of treatment involving laser or light therapy, magnetic therapy and electrical stimulation may help.


There you have it, the first lesson on the neuropathy on which the focus is on the diabetic foot. We have covered such areas as the symptoms and cause plus the management and treatment but most of all, we offered some suggestion on how to relieve the pain.

Your Turn

How about you? Have you tried some ways to relieve the pain> Which ones work well with you? Please, share them with us in the comment box below so we can help all our friends who are suffering from this needless pain alone.

By Roger Guzman, M.D. and Evelyn Guzman

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