Diabetic Foot Infections: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
People with diabetes often experience problems in their legs and arms, particularly in their feet, which can lead to symptoms such as numbness and poor blood circulation. In such cases, it can be difficult to notice cuts, sores, and blisters. If left untreated, these wounds can quickly become infected, resulting in complications and possibly requiring amputation. Therefore, it is crucial to take care of diabetic patients and seek treatment promptly.
For the best diabetic foot treatment in Hyderabad, consider OMNI Hospital. They offer customized, patient-centric treatment plans delivered by well-trained medical professionals and supported by healthcare staff. OMNI Hospital provides comprehensive care for diabetic foot conditions in individuals with diabetes mellitus.
Understanding Diabetic Foot Infections
A diabetic foot is a common infection that can result from bacteria entering the body through a wound. This condition is more prevalent in diabetic patients, and minor injuries are one of the major causes of diabetic foot infections.
While most people may experience cuts, sores, scrapes, blisters, etc., these wounds can become infected over time and lead to diabetic foot ulcers in diabetic patients. These ulcers often go unnoticed in most diabetic patients, allowing pathogens such as bacteria to enter through untreated wounds and cause infections.
One reason why many diabetic patients may experience numbness in their feet is neuropathy, which refers to long-term nerve damage in the extremities caused by diabetes. Another cause of diabetic foot infections is the development of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that occurs when the arteries to the extremities, especially in the legs, become blocked or narrowed. Insufficient blood circulation to a specific body part can result in slow healing of ulcers or wounds.
C. Types of foot infections
III. Recognizing the Symptoms
There may be many symptoms of diabetic foot infection, some of which may include:
- Diminished feeling of temperature in the extremities
- Darkened skin on the affected area
- Loss of hair in the area
Diabetic foot infection leading to ulcers may cause additional symptoms such as:
- Foul smell
- Redness and swelling
- Change in colour, texture, or other features of the nails
- Discharge of fluid or pus
- Skin discolouration
Extreme symptoms of diabetic foot infection, when it may have started showing non-local symptoms, may include:
- Fever and chills
- Shortness of breath
- Nasal congestion
- Mouth sores
People with diabetic foot infection may also experience or notice other symptoms, such as black tissue surrounding the ulcer, partial or complete gangrene along with the discharge of pus, pain, and numbness in the location of the diabetic ulcer.
Diagnosing Diabetic Foot Infections
A doctor may provide a diagnosis of a diabetic foot infection. During the diagnosis, the doctor will perform a complete physical examination and look for signs of infection related to diabetes, such as swelling, discolouration, and discharge.
The doctor may also remove any necrotic tissue and test it to determine the severity of the infection. Additionally, the doctor may recommend imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans of the feet.
Diabetic foot infection treatment may be performed based on the diagnosis made by the doctor, depending on the severity and extent of the infection. The doctor may begin the primary treatment for diabetic foot infection by:
- Cleaning the wound,
- Draining any pus from the ulcer,
- Removing any dead tissue attached to the feet, and
- Applying bandages and ointment to facilitate wound healing
Like most infections, diabetic foot infections may be treated by administering antibiotic medications. The doctor may also recommend antiplatelets and/or anti-clotting medications if the diabetic foot infection progresses.
If the diabetic foot infection has reached an advanced stage and is beyond the scope of antibiotic treatment, surgical intervention may be necessary. In such cases, amputation may be a necessary course of treatment to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the body. Foot surgery may also be recommended as a preventive measure for diabetic ulcers. Managing pain and pressure may require foot surgery, where the bones or bone deformities can be shaved down to reduce the potential for ulcers.
To avoid diabetes-related neuropathy, managing blood sugar levels may be the best way to prevent diabetic foot infections. The risk of diabetic foot infection can be reduced by following certain lifestyle choices:
- Check the feet every day for signs of infection, cuts, and sores. If any cuts, especially on the feet, are present, proper treatment should be sought to avoid infection.
- If an infection does not heal properly, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider.
- Keep the toenails short and trim them regularly.
- Stay active and exercise regularly to ensure proper blood flow to the feet. Additionally, elevating the feet when sitting and wiggling the toes at regular intervals may also be beneficial.
- Use talcum powder to prevent moisture buildup between the toes.
- When wearing socks and shoes, ensure they are not too tight to avoid cuts.
- Wash the feet regularly, using warm water instead of hot water, and dry them thoroughly and properly after washing.
- Avoid smoking, as it may also contribute to the risk of diabetic foot infections.
Seeking Medical Help and Follow-up Care
If there are signs of infection or worsening ulcers from sores or blisters, professional medical help should be sought to avoid any complications. Any symptoms or changes in the feet must be relayed to the doctor. Following efficient and prompt treatment may help prevent complications.
After receiving Best Diabetic Foot Treatment in Hyderabad, it is essential to take medicines regularly and attend follow-up visits to prevent diabetic foot infections. Managing blood sugar levels and taking care of the feet and toes at home are also important in reducing the chances of developing further infections in the feet due to diabetes.
Treatment at OMNI Hospital
At OMNI Hospital, we have the Best Diabetic Foot Surgeon Doctors in Hyderabad who provide comprehensive healthcare services for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of a wide range of health conditions, including diabetes and diabetes-related problems such as diabetic foot infections. We offer targeted treatment for the problem and all-round management of symptoms. Looking for best treatment for diabetic foot infections? Book your appointment today.