Unbeknownst to many, lower extremity problems represent the most common complication associated with diabetes. In fact, research says that diabetic patients are 15 times more likely to have a foot amputation than non-diabetic individuals. At US Neuropathy Centers, our team of compassionate and expert physicians are dedicated to helping patients with diabetic neuropathy avoid complications associated with the loss of sensation, which can include amputation.
Foot ulcers pose many difficulties to diabetic patients. One of the primary causes of ulcers and open sores on the bottom of the foot is the loss of sensation and even muscle control associated with diabetic neuropathy. When there is a loss of sensation, the diabetic patient does not get the proper “clues” to the brain to stay off the foot or alter the way they walk. Muscle weakness from neuropathy in the foot muscles can cause changes in walking patterns, which can lead to structural deformities, including hammertoes and claw toes.
These foot deformities often lead to tissue damage and callosities, causing them to thicken, hemorrhage, and eventually ulcerate. When such foot deformities grow, there is an alteration in pressure distribution that exposes the skin to traumatic ulceration. Evidence confirms ulcerations develop at sites of heightened pressure.
Foot deformities are among the most common causalities of diabetic foot ulcers. Insensitivity, combined with repetitive pressure, contributes to ulcer development.
One research study worked to clarify the relationships among the motor nerve conduction deficit, muscle weakness and foot deformities. The study’s aims were defined as; 1- examine the relationships among peroneal and tibial motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV), muscle weakness, and the presence of foot deformities in diabetic men; and 2- to examine muscle weakness, foot deformities, and sensory neuropathy in four groups of diabetic men with and without motor neuropathy or foot ulceration.
The study used four groups of white male participants:
- Group C- 10 nondiabetic control subjects
- Group D- 10 diabetic subjects without motor peripheral neuropathy
- Group DN- 15 diabetic subjects with motor peripheral neuropathy but without past foot ulceration
- Group DU- 11 diabetic subjects with past (healed) neuropathic foot ulceration.
Using a foot deformity scale, the researchers assessed foot deformities, and were also able to assess muscles weakness using semi-quantitative scores.
After the study, the researchers found foot deformities to be equally severe in diabetic participants with past foot ulceration compared to diabetic patients without ulceration and with motor neuropathy. The study’s findings suggest that neuropathic patients without past foot ulceration are still at risk of future foot ulceration. In addition to foot deformities, there are other factors that lead to foot ulceration, such as trauma, peripheral vascular disease, impaired wound healing, and psychological factors, many of which are also associated with diabetes.
This study, and other studies that look to investigate the trends in factors of diabetic neuropathy, help the specialists at US Neuropathy Centers better care for their patients. Our entire team continues to examine valuable research that could contribute in the innovation of neuropathy treatment. For more information on treatments or to schedule an appointment at any of our locations, contact a US Neuropathy Centers specialist today. To find out more information about this study, visit:http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/7/1668.full.pdf.
If you are suffering from neuropathy, please do not hesitate to call us at US Neuropathy Centers.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
@US Neuropathy Centers, 2018