When you skinned your knee as a little kid, you probably wished you weren’t able to feel the pain. After all, who wants to suffer? But pain is your body’s way of calling attention to an injury so that you can take care of it and start the healing process.
What if your pain signaling turned off? What if you hurt yourself and didn’t know it, putting your wound at risk for serious consequences, including infection and gangrene? If you’re one of nearly 30 million Americans with diabetes, that’s something that could happen if you don’t pay attention to your feet.
One complication of more advanced diabetes is a condition called diabetic neuropathy. High levels of circulating glucose damage your blood vessels and also important nerve fibers, especially in your feet. If you notice symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or weakness in your feet, you may already have diabetic neuropathy.
At Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates in Colorado Springs, Colorado, podiatrist Dr. Kerry E. Berg provides expert diabetic foot care and wound care. As part of your wellness team, she helps you anticipate, prevent, and get treatment for diabetic foot problems, including neuropathy, peripheral artery disease (PAD), foot pain, and fallen arches.
We recommend an annual or semiannual checkup if you don’t yet have signs of diabetic neuropathy or other foot problems. During each exam, Dr. Berg checks your feet for subtle changes, including hardening of the skin and poor circulation. She also recommends daily self-care:
If you notice any wounds, skin lesions, or unusual discolorations, contact Dr. Berg. You should also call if you have blood or liquid in your socks or shoes or notice that your feet are numb or tingling. Visit Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates more frequently than twice a year if you already have symptoms of PAD or neuropathy.
When you have a wound or ulcer on your foot that’s not healing, Dr. Berg takes care of it right away. She performs in-office procedures such as debridement (removing dead or damaged tissue) under local anesthetics. She also prescribes antibiotics, if necessary, and applies topical medications that promote healing.
If your wound or ulcer is large, she performs an in-office skin graft. She may put a cast or brace on your foot to protect it while you heal.
She removes calluses or corns in the office, too. Never try to cut off a corn or callus yourself; you could seriously injure your foot and put it at risk for infection.
If you have fallen arches, neuropathy, or another foot-related complication of diabetes, Dr. Berg may prescribe custom-designed orthotics. Orthotics are shoe inserts that are molded to the shape of your foot that can correct for defects, such as flat feet. She may also recommend or prescribe shoes designed for diabetic feet that have extra room in the toes to promote healthy circulation.
Most of all, Dr. Berg helps you learn how to take care of your feet to prevent PAD, fallen arches, and neuropathy. She can answer your questions when you’re not sure about the health of your feet. To get a podiatrist on your diabetic wellness team, phone Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today, or use our easy online contact form.