What are complications of diabetic foot disease?

Updated: Oct 08, 2021
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
  • Print

Patients with diabetes who present with wounds, infections, or ulcers of the foot should be treated intensively. [169] In addition to appropriate use of antibiotics, the use of crutches, wheelchairs, or bed rest is mandatory for preventing further trauma to the healing foot. Patients should be treated by a podiatrist or an orthopedist with experience in the care of diabetic foot disease. (See Diabetic Foot Infections.)

If bone or tendon is visible, osteomyelitis is present, and hospitalization for IV antibiotic therapy is often necessary. Many patients need a vascular evaluation in conjunction with local treatment of the foot ulcer because a revascularization procedure may be required to provide adequate blood flow for wound healing.

Because ulcers and foot infections are difficult to cure, their prevention is extremely important. [170] At one clinic, the rate of amputation was halved after patients were required to remove their shoes and socks at every visit. The emergency physician can facilitate this practice by briefly inspecting the feet of patients with diabetes and by educating them about the need for proper foot care.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!