Diabetes on its own is a challenging condition to manage which requires you to constantly monitor your diet and keep blood sugar and insulin levels in a good range.

Patients with diabetes are also at increased risk for a variety of other medical complications, such as peripheral neuropathy and peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Both of these conditions can have serious adverse effects on the lower extremities (legs and feet), which can potentially lead to amputation if they are not treated properly.

Peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can develop with chronic high blood sugar levels. Neuropathy can cause numbness and weakness in your feet, which can make it difficult to feel a diabetic foot sore or ulcer.

PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease) occurs when fatty plaque builds up in arteries and restricts blood flow to your legs and feet. This poor circulation can lead to chronic pain and the development of frequent, hard-to-heal ulcers.

If these lower extremity sores don’t heal properly, either due to neuropathy or PAD, they may become infected, gangrene could set in, and amputation may be needed in extreme cases.

Our CTVS board-certified vascular surgeons help treat diabetic complications and encourage early intervention for better outcomes. Our goal is to restore healthy function and blood flow to the extremities and heal serious ulcers and wounds in order to prevent amputation at all costs.

Effective therapies and procedures that CTVS offers to help manage PAD and complications from diabetes include:

  • Minimally Invasive Procedures – such as an arteriogram using balloons, stents and atherectomy devices to restore blood flow to the damaged extremities
  • Surgical Revascularization – these procedures help restore blood flow to the limbs and include limb bypass (rerouting the blood supply around a blocked artery) and endarterectomy (surgical removal of part of the inner lining of an artery)
  • Foot and Leg Wound Care – to promote wound healing and encourage tissue preservation

Additional tips to maintain healthy feet and legs for those living with diabetes are:

  1. Check yourself often for cuts, blisters, cracks, sores, and ingrown toenails that are slow to heal. If you are unable to view hard-to-see spots, have a family member help you.
  2. Refrain from smoking or tobacco use as it makes it hard for cuts and sores to heal well.
  3. Exercise regularly to boost blood flow and circulation and help manage weight.
  4. Wear closed-toe and supportive shoes (as well as clean, dry socks) as much as possible to protect toes from minor cuts and scrapes.
  5. Seek help from a podiatrist or orthopedist to treat any chronic foot, ankle, or lower leg pains or issues.

For concerns about complications from diabetes, or questions about any of our vascular services, please visitctvstexas.com or call us at (512) 459-8753 to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists.

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Written by: Jeffrey Apple, MD | Last Reviewed 8 Mar 2024