How to Avoid Foot Amputation

How to Avoid Foot Amputation

How to Avoid Foot Amputation

I have spent time in the past 4 weeks helping diabetic patients at all levels of care.  Many diabetic patients come into the office with questions about how to avoid being the other types of patients I have seen, those with ulcer or amputation.  We have all heard the stories of diabetics with an infection and needing an amputation.  My goal as a physician would be to prevent this situation.  One of my friends from Podiatry School has published a one page handout to help diabetics prevent sores, which prevent ulcers and in turn will prevent amputations.

Click here for a downloadable version of this article.

Don’t Live Life in Pain! Call us today for an appointment at 505.880.1000. We take care of your feet…so that they’ll take care of you!

Mark Tenny, DPM

#topdoctors #bestABQfootdoctors #nmfai #wesavesoles #fifteenyearsstrong

Chronic Ulceration and Neuropathy

Chronic Ulceration and Neuropathy

Chronic Ulceration and Neuropathy

During this past month, I have been disheartened to see a lot of new patients come to my office for the first time with a long standing ulceration, or wound on the foot. Primarily, this is due to neuropathy, which is a broad term used to describe how nerves become diseased and no longer work properly.

In diabetes, high amounts of sugar in the blood stream cause a toxic environment and the long nerves from brain to toe get the most damage and “lose feeling.” Once feeling is lost, the ability to tell the body that it is hurt is gone. Pressure with each step or a tiny cut goes unnoticed and the foot continues to smash a tiny sore into a large, painless wound. Sadly, many of my diabetic patients, especially smokers, have terrible blood flow, which complicates healing of these types of wounds.

Thankfully, this last month I have had many very successful, almost miraculous, outcomes which have not resulted in amputations of toe or foot. Many patients have thanked me and I wish to sincerely thank them. I love patients and though treating wounds can be challenging, the excellent and happy outcomes make it worth the effort.

Don’t Live Life in Pain! Call us today for an appointment at 505.880.1000. We take care of your feet…so that they’ll take care of you!

Justin Ward, DPM

Diabetes and the Shoe

Diabetes and the Shoe

Diabetes and the Shoe

A person is diagnosed with diabetes every 23 seconds in America. That is a lot of Americans with a disease that kills more people annually than breast cancer and AIDS combined. When I educate newly diagnosed patients about diabetes, I usually briefly recap the big risks that their primary care provider has discussed which should include eye, kidney, and heart disease risks. Once the big picture is established, I explain the importance of foot care and their shoes. Why talk about shoes when there are so many other problems with diabetes? Well, basically 82,000 Americans lose their foot or leg to diabetes and frequently it starts out as an innocent looking sore, callus, or wound. Many of which could have been prevented by a simple, properly fit shoe.

Diabetic shoes are designed to prevent wounds, amputation, and even pain. In general, diabetic shoes are smooth lined, well cushioned, wide, and padded.  They are made to be taller or deeper to allow for less friction and less pressure. An orthotic (removable shoe inserts) can be made specifically for the patient and provide pain relief as well as prevent problems. Diabetics with foot deformities are at increased risk for wounds and often need to be measured for appropriate size.

The American way of food and excess has brought rise to the diabetic plague, but thankfully also given rise a wide variety of shoes. Now, there are hundreds of fashionable diabetic shoes. Many of which are easily covered by insurance. So in short, we might not be good at controlling our diet and exercise, but at least we can have safe shoes in style.

Don’t Live Life in Pain! Call us today for an appointment at 505.880.1000. We take care of your feet…so that they’ll take care of you!

Justin Ward, DPM

Charcot Disease

Charcot Disease

Charcot Disease

Diabetes can be a devastating disease. There are a lot of things that physicians are well trained to look for in the diabetic patient. There are other conditions that are not well known or understood. A condition known as “Diabetic Charcot Arthropathy” is often misdiagnosed. I bring this up because, in the past 2 months, I’ve had two patients present with similar symptoms which turned out to be Charcot disease. It is now a fight to save their leg and early detection could have prevented that. So all of you diabetics out there, pay attention!

Each patient had the same symptoms. First, they were diabetic and had severe neuropathy (so no feeling in the feet). One day, they noticed an increase in swelling on one of their feet, ankle, and leg. The limb was also warm to touch and red. However, there wasn’t any ulcer or open wound on the foot or ankle. They went to the hospital and the blood work was overall normal. They were still put on antibiotics and were diagnosed with infections (cellulitis). Over the next month or so, the redness and warmth went away but the limb was still swollen and the foot appeared to be flattening out. And that’s when they showed up in my office.

Charcot disease is not well understood but what we think happens is that a patients nerves can’t control the blood flow to the feet very well and increased blood flow “wash’s out” the bones and they begin to collapse. Just think of water flowing down a white wash here in New Mexico. What happens to the sides of the white wash? They erode and a similar thing can happen to your bones.

If Charcot is caught BEFORE the bones start to collapse, 10-12 weeks of no weight on the affected foot can save it from collapse. After collapse, 50% of patients will lose their leg within 5 years. So as you can see, it is imperative that this is caught early.

So, if you’re diabetic and have little or no feeling in your feet, if one foot/ankle/leg swells up and is red, hot, and there is no evidence of any cut or wound, this could be Charcot Disease. Call us and we’ll get you in fast. Sure, it may be infection and a trip to the hospital. But Charcot needs to be ruled out. A couple months in a cast could save your leg!

Don’t Live Life In Pain! Call us at 505.880.1000 today to make an appointment.
Jonathan Williamson, DPM

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