As a diabetic, you probably already know that you're at risk of foot complications like ulcers. However, ulcers aren't the only foot problem that diabetics need to worry about. Diabetics can also develop infections in the bones of their feet, known as osteomyelitis. Here are five things you need to know about this complication:
What are the signs of osteomyelitis?
Osteomyelitis can make your foot feel red or warm, and it may be swollen. You may also develop a fever or chills due to the infection. The infection may also cause pain in the area, but diabetics can have osteomyelitis without feeling pain, so you need to rely on how your foot looks, not how it feels.
How does osteomyelitis develop?
Osteomyelitis develops as a complication of infected foot ulcers. Foot ulcers are open sores that don't heal properly, and they can form as a result of injuries like blisters, calluses, and cuts. If bacteria gets into the open sore, an infection can be the result, and if the infection isn't treated, it can spread to your bones.
Diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet, so you may not feel the pain associated with the original injury, the ulcer, or even the osteomyelitis.
How is it treated?
There are two treatment options for this condition: conservative and surgical. Conservative treatments may include antibiotics. These antibiotics are given intravenously for the first six to eight weeks, and then given orally after that until the infection is gone.
If antibiotics don't get rid of the infection, it may need to be treated surgically. The infected bone tissue will be removed, and a margin of healthy tissue around the infection will also be removed.
How can you prevent it?
You can keep your feet healthy by checking your feet every day. Examine your feet for injuries like blisters, and if you find any problems, see your podiatrist. These small injuries may seem insignificant, but they can lead to ulcers and osteomyelitis.Your podiatrist can help you treat your minor foot injuries to keep anything more serious from happening.
How common is it?
Osteomyelitis is a fairly common problem among people with diabetes. According to Podiatry Today, about one-quarter of diabetics will develop a foot ulcer at some point during their lives, and about half of these ulcers will later become infected. The prevalence rate of osteomyelitis among diabetics with infected foot ulcers can be as high as 65%. This is why it's so important to check your feet regularly.
Osteomyelitis is very serious, but you can prevent it by monitoring your feet and seeing your podiatrist regularly. Contact a company such as Pinker & Associates to learn more..