Why does my diabetic foot hurt?

In diabetics, neuropathy is defined as a loss of protective sensation.  The condition occurs in what we call and stocking and glove distribution.  It starts at the distal ends of the toes and fingers, and moves proximally up the foot/hand into the leg/arm.  While there are many causes of peripheral neuropathy, diabetes is the most common.

Neuropathy can occur in several forms.  The most common is sensory neuropathy.  This is a change in the ability of the patient to feel their feet and hands.  Starting in a stocking and glove distribution, a patient will not feel items touching their toes and feet.  Over time, patient can step on objects such as glass shards, nails, or tacks, and will not feel it.  This is a significant risk for infections and amputation.

Neuropathy can also occur as a motor neuropathy.  This is a loss of function in the distal most muscles, and can be combined with sensory neuropathy to be called sensorimotor neuropathy.  The most common examples of this include the development of hammertoes in a neuropathy foot, or ankle contractures causing ulcerations in the ball of the foot.

Lastly, neuropathy can cause an autonomic issue.  This will be symptoms such as a loss of ability to sweat or release oils (also called sebum) from the skin.  This is the type of neuropathy that also involves the cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, and genitourinary system.

With loss of sensation and function, patients become higher risk for infections, wounds and amputation.  Daily foot examinations, proper shoe gear, and regular diabetic foot care can prevent many problems.   So that begs the question, if I can’t feel it, why does it hurt?

60-70% of diabetics will eventually suffer from this condition.  The best way to think about it, is to use the telephone as an analogy.  If you are on the phone, and there is static, you can still hear, right?  The more static, the louder you have to yell to have the person on the other end hear you, until eventually there is so much static that you can’t hear anything, and they you hang up.  This is what happens with your nerves.

Each and every nerve in your body is connected directly to your brain.  Millions and millions of individual wires, from every aspect of your body, connected directly to your brain.  As neuropathy advances, the static to your brain increases.  Patients perceive this as neuropathic symptoms, burning, tingling, fire, ices, etc.  The louder the static, the more symptoms, until finally your brain hangs up, and then you have a complete loss of sensation.  This basically means that you can remove portions of your foot without anesthesia and not know it.

Treatments for painful diabetic neuropathy include proper glucose control, diet, exercise, and many different medication options.  You may have even seen a television commercial for Lyrica for example.  There are also sensory feedback options, cold laser and other light treatments, and even surgical options for releasing the nerves.

Best treatment for diabetic Neuropathy is prevention.  Good glucose control, exercise, and preventive foot care are essential.  Treatment once you have symptoms has been successful, but not for everyone.  You may not know you even have it.  The doctors at WeTreatFeet are well versed in this process and can offer you many cutting-edge treatments.  Call today if you want to have t

What is the diabetic foot?

If you have diabetes, one of the most common issues and concerns is your foot.  Your foot is a complex structure consisting of 26 bones, 33 joints, and 120 muscles/ligaments/nerves[1].  Each structure has a unique purpose, and diabetes can causes alternation in function for any of them.

The most common problem we see in diabetics is diabetic peripheral neuropathy.  This is nerve damage that is a result of elevated glucose that is the root cause of all other diabetic foot problems.  With neuropathy, there are 3 main types; Sensory, Autonomic, and Motor.  While most people have an understanding of the loss of sensation associated with sensory neuropathy, the other two types can cause significant problems, and must be considered in any article about the diabetic foot.

Autonomic nervous system is part of your body responsible for involuntary action.  These are things like your heart beat, dilation and constrictions of the blood vessels, and secretion of natural skin oils, called sebum.  [2]  In the diabetic foot, these cause changes in the flow of blood to the foot, the amount of sweat your foot can produce, and how fast the blood flows.  These symptoms develop over years of disease progression, and the progression is enhanced under poorly controlled glucose levels.[3]

Motor neuropathy is a progressive loss of muscle tone and strength.  This results in weakness and muscle atrophy.  Most common in the upper and lower extremities, symptoms include cramping, twitching, and muscle wasting.  As in sensory and autonomic neuropathy, diabetes is a common cause, but other factors can contribute to each of these problems.  [4]  Motor neuropathy is the cause for problems associated with progressive hammertoe and bunion deformities.

When diabetes causes complications to your foot, it is related to each one of these types of neurologic conditions.  Sensory loss creates a situation where you can’t feel your foot.  Autonomic changes allow skin to become dry, atrophic, and easily damaged.  Motor neuropathy causes changes in the foot shape and mechanics, increasing pressure points, leading to the development of musculoskeletal imbalance.

I always tell my patients that when it comes to diabetes, if you live long enough, you are subject to all of these problems.  That being said, the better controlled your diabetes is, the longer and slower these symptoms progress, and the less likely to result in an infection, ulceration, or amputation.  Good quality foot care, proper shoes, glycemic control, and some education can go a long way in preventing loss of limb or life, a problem that occurs 73,000 times a year.[5]  This number is more than half of what it was 20 years ago due to proper education and better understanding of these problems.

 

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/foot-pain/print.html

[2] https://medlineplus.gov/autonomicnervoussystemdisorders.html

[3] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000776.htm

[4] https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/11011/multifocal-motor-neuropathy

[5] http://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/diabetes-amputation#is-it-needed2

Diabetes and podiatry; what’s the connection?

Foot complications in diabetes are common yet the link between the two is not very well-known. Here to tell us more about it ahead of World Diabetes Day on 14 November is specialist and author for Journal of Foot and Ankle Research Trevor Prior, with colleague Debbie Coleman.

Read More

Report: Gout Vastly Undertreated in USA & UK

Gout, the most common inflammatory arthritis worldwide, is treatable but vastly undertreated, according to epidemiologic studies that now encompass three continents. The undertreatment problems previously reported in the United Kingdom and the United States also characterize gout in Taiwan, according to a nationwide population study.

Chang-Fu Kuo, MD, from the Division of Rheumatology, Orthopaedics and Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, and the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan, and colleagues report the study results in an article published online January 23 in Arthritis Research & Therapy. Dr Kuo was also the lead author on the UK study.

In the new article, Dr Kuo and colleagues report, although gout incidence in Taiwan decreased during the course of the study, prevalence remained high and stable and gout management remained poor, with only about one quarter of patients receiving potentially curative urate-lowering therapy.

Jasvinder A. Singh, MD, MPH, who led the US study and who was not involved in either the Taiwan or UK studies, told Medscape Medical News, “The rates of undertreatment of gout in the US are also quite high and have been widely published, and many of the observations published in this study have also been seen in many other countries. Undertreatment includes not only lower rate of use of urate-lowering drugs but also infrequent monitoring of the serum urate and a low proportion reaching the target serum urate of less than 6 mg/dL due to use of suboptimal dose of urate-lowering drugs.” Dr Singh is professor of medicine at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Dr Kuo and colleagues used data from the National Health Insurance Research Database for Taiwan, which covers the entire population of 23 million people, to identify gout patients, estimate prevalence and incidence for each year from 2005 to 2010, and examine patterns of gout treatment.

Gout prevalence was 1,458,569 (6.24%), and gout incidence was 56,595 (2.74/1000 person-years). Gout prevalence did not change significantly during the study, although gout incidence decreased 13.4% between 2005 and 2010 and 2.1% between 2007 and 2010. In comparison, estimates of annual incidence in US studies ranged from 0.45 to 1.73 per 1000 person-years.

Gout was most prevalent and had the highest incidence rates in eastern coast counties and offshore islets of Taiwan, which the authors note also have higher populations of indigenous Taiwanese. “However, genetic factors account for just one-third of phenotypic variation of gout in men and only one-fifth in women so environmental factors could also contribute to the variable geographical distribution of gout in Taiwan,” the authors write.

“To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to report gout incidence in Asian populations. The incidence in Taiwan was much higher than other countries, suggesting significant racial and geographic variation in the aetiology of gout,” they add.

Dr Singh commented, “There are very few studies of gout risk in Asian patients in the US, so it’s not easy to say whether the problem is better, the same, or worse than Taiwan. There are no particular subgroups in the US that require particular attention, except that African-Americans have been shown to have poorer outcomes with gout compared to Caucasians, and lower rates of medication treatment.”

In the Taiwan study, in 2010, only about one third of patients with gout had contact with health services in relation to gout, and only one in five were prescribed urate-lowering therapy. Of those treated, 60.08% (95% confidence interval, 59.91% – 60.25%) received uricosuric agents alone, 28.54% (95% confidence interval, 28.39% – 28.69%) received a xanthine oxidase inhibitor, and 11.38% (95% confidence interval, 11.27% – 11.49%) received both. The authors add, “Unfortunately, this suboptimal care has not changed over the study period, despite the publication of national and international guidelines on gout management during this period.”

The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr Singh reported no financial conflicts related directly to this study but has received research and travel grants from Takeda and Savient and consultant fees from Savient, Takeda, Regeneron, Allergan, and Novartis.

Source: Janis C. Kelly, Medscape

REPORT: Office Visits by Patients With Diabetes Rising Rapidly in United States

Office visits in the United States for diabetes rose 20% from 2005 to 2010, with the largest increase in adults in their mid-20s to mid-40s, according to a new data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Nearly 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, putting them at risk for other chronic conditions, such as heart disease, eye disease, and stroke, Jill J. Ashman, PhD, and colleagues from the NCHS note in the brief.

On an annual basis, the cost of diabetes in the United States approaches $245 billion, and patients with diabetes have medical expenditures 2.3 times those of patients without diabetes.

The researchers analyzed recent trends in office visits by patients with diabetes using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), a nationally representative survey of visits to nonfederal office-based physicians (excluding anesthesiologists, radiologists, and pathologists).

They found that office-based physician visits by patients with diabetes rose from 94.4 million in 2005 to 113.3 million in 2010 (a 20% increase). Visits by patients with diabetes made up about 11% of all office-based physician visits in 2010.

The number of office visits increased during the study period for all age groups except for those younger than 25 years. The largest percentage increase (34%) occurred in people in the 25- to 44-year age range.

However, the volume of visits was higher for older adults; individuals aged 65 and older made 53.7 million visits in 2010 compared with 2.6 million visits made by those younger than 25.

The researchers did not see any marked change in the rate of office visits by patients with diabetes in any age group during the study period. The highest rate in 2010 was among those aged 65 and older (1380 visits per 1000 persons) and lowest in those younger than 25 (20 visits per 1000).

“Diabetes is not the only health concern for the majority of patients who have it, with 87% of visits being made by patients who have additional chronic conditions,” Dr. Ashman and colleagues say.

Regardless of age, they found that patients with diabetes use “extensive health resources,” making frequent trips to the doctor and often receiving multiple prescriptions.

One of the federal Healthy People 2020 goals is to reduce the disease and economic burden of diabetes. “Continuing to examine office-based physician visits by patients with diabetes is especially important given changes in standards of care that may influence such visits,” Dr. Ashman and colleagues say.

Source: Medscape

What’s at stake if Congress repeals the Medical Device Tax?

During the battle to reopen the government, a pot
With that in mind, here are some frequently asked questions about the tax.

Q: What is the medical device tax?

A: Since the beginning of this year, medical device manufacturers and importers have paid a 2.3 percent tax on the sale of any taxable medical device. The tax applies to devices like artificial hips or pacemakers, not to devices sold over-the-the counter, like eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Q: Why did Congress put the tax into the health law?

A: The law created a package of new taxes and fees to finance the cost of the health law’s subsidies to help purchase coverage on the online marketplaces, or exchanges, and the law’s Medicaid expansion. In addition to the tax on medical devices, an annual fee for health insurers is expected to raise more than $100 billion over 10 years, while a fee for brand name drugs will bring in another $34 billion. In 2018, the law also will impose a 40 percent excise tax on the portion of most employer-sponsored health coverage (excluding dental and vision) that exceeds $10,200 a year and $27,500 for families. That has been dubbed a “Cadillac” tax because it hits the most generous plans.

Q: Why do proponents of the repeal suggest the medical device manufacturers should get a break over those other industries?

A: Medical device makers say the tax will cost 43,000 jobs over the next decade and will increase healthcare costs. In a September letter to lawmakers, device manufacturers said if the tax were not repealed, “it will continue to force affected companies to cut manufacturing operations, research and development, and employment levels to recoup the lost earnings due to the tax.”

The device makers also assert that, unlike other health industry groups that are being taxed through the health law, they will not see increased sales because of the millions of people who will be getting insurance through the overhaul. “Unlike other industries that may benefit from expanded coverage, the majority of device-intensive medical procedures are performed on patients that are older and already have private insurance or Medicare coverage. Where states have dramatically extended health coverage, such as in Massachusetts where they added 400,000 new covered lives, there is no evidence of a device ‘windfall,'” the group’s letter to Congress stated.

The left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has challenged industry assertions that the tax will lead medical device manufacturers to shift operations overseas and that it will reduce industry innovation. Since the tax applies to imported and as well as domestically produced devices, sales of medical devices in the U.S. will be subject to the tax whether they are produced here or abroad, the center’s analysis notes. Innovation in the medical device industry has slowed for reasons unrelated to the tax, the center said, noting that the health law may spur medical-device innovation by promoting more cost-effective ways to deliver care.

Q: Who else is pushing for a repeal?

A: Republicans and Democrats in both chambers – in particular those who hail from states with many device manufactures, such as Minnesota, Massachusetts and New York — have sought to repeal the medical device tax. Most recently, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has pushed for a repeal as part of larger legislation to lift the debt ceiling and reopen the government.

The Republican-controlled House has twice passed legislation to scrap the tax, including a recent measure that would have also delayed implementation of the health law by a year. In the Senate, 33 Democrats and Maine Independent Angus King voted earlier this year to repeal the tax, although the vote was a symbolic one, taken as part of a non-binding budget resolution.

Q. Who opposes the repeal?

The White House in the past has said the president would not support such a measure, although it has not commented about the issue in the current negotiations. In a statement issued last year about a congressional effort to get rid of the tax, the White House said, “The medical device industry, like others, will benefit from an additional 30 million potential consumers who will gain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act starting in 2014. This excise tax is one of several designed so that industries that gain from the coverage expansion will help offset the cost of that expansion.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said that the Senate will reject any attempts by Republicans to delay implementation of the law or to repeal the medical device tax as part of reopening the government or lifting the federal debt ceiling. But it is unclear if he would still oppose the effort if it was part of a major bipartisan compromise on the health law and budget issues.

Meanwhile, other health care providers are watching closely. In a recent blog post, Chip Kahn, president and chief executive officer of the Federation of American Hospitals, an association of for-profit institutions, wrote that if Congress reopens the heath law “to reconsider the contributions of any one health care sector that benefits from ACA’s coverage expansion, it should simultaneously address the changed circumstances of hospitals and provide similar relief.”

Source: Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News/Healthcare Finance News

“We Shouldn’t Be Doing It”: Lecturer Calls Out Serious Podiatric Myths

During his lecture entitled “Righting the Wrong: Exploding Myths in Podiatric Medicine” last month, Bradley W. Bakotic, DPM, DO, Bako Pathology Services in Alpharetta, GA called out some myths which have inexplicably become part of the modus operandi of the modern podiatrist.

“Podiatry is a little bit incestuous,” Dr. Bakotic said. “If you go to MD school, you’re taught dermatology by a dermatologist. In podiatry, you’re often taught dermatology by a podiatrist who has an interest in dermatology. It’s incestuous in the sense that we don’t get out into other disciplines like we should. We pass on ideas, and sometimes they’re frankly wrong.”

The first myth Bakotic tackled was “Soft tissue mass? Just cut it out!” school of thought.

“That’s a big one” he continued, “It’s profession-wide and can actually end up in frank negligence. I think this came from the fact that 70 percent of pedal soft tissue masses are ganglia, which are pseudo cysts. The problem is other neoplasms happen.”

“If you just cut it out blindly, you almost never have appropriate margins, so you’re going to have a higher recurrence rate,” he said. “It almost doubles. Distant metastasis also almost doubles.”

Bakotic went on to state the potential litigative repercussions of this; “When you go in and cut out soft tissue mass with positive margins, you cannot do limb-sparing surgery in the aftermath,” he said. “It has big repercussions.”

His conclusion on the myth was strong; “Cutting out soft tissue mass is something that should be left behind in this profession, we shouldn’t be doing it. We hurt people.”

Dr. Bakotic continued to dispel another myth – that acral dermatitis should be seen as tinea pedis until proven otherwise.

“When I was practicing podiatry, I wrote [a prescription] for one corticosteroid in seven years,” he said. “That’s incompetence. I was led to believe every time you saw a rash on the foot, it was tinea.”

Like many podiatric physicians, Dr. Bakotic said, he commonly writes prescriptions for antifungals.

“If you get the prescription data, you’ll see it’s an absolute fact. Only 25 percent of podiatrists prescribe a topical corticosteroid at least once a month. That’s ridiculous.”

After sharing results of studies that show nearly two-thirds of skin biopsies thought to be tinea pedis are not, Dr. Bakotic shared 10 photos with the audience, asking them to identify how many were cases of tinea pedis.

The answer? None.

“Many of us were just taught to assume everything’s a fungal infection,” Dr. Bakotic said. “When I was a student, if someone came in with dermatitis I was already running to the cabinet with the Spectazole samples.”

Source:
APMA

Ladies! Don’t Let Bunions Give You the Blues!

APMA put out the following notes on bunions – check it out:  Bunions are among the most common type of foot ailment today’s podiatrist treats, especially in women. Studies show that women are anywhere from two to nine times more likely to develop a bunion than men! While your high heels and peep toes are partially to blame, your foot type (passed down through your family) is the true culprit.
Style Squeeze

Click the image above to order a FREE poster for your office.

Here’s the good news! Today’s podiatrist is the true expert when it comes to diagnosing and treating bunions. Podiatrists perform tens of thousands of bunion procedures every year, more than any other medical professional in the United States.

Fortunately, today’s podiatrist is only a click away! Podiatrists are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat bunions, based on their education, training, and experience. If you suspect a bunion, visit a podiatrist and beat bunion blues!

Bunion Basics
What exactly is a bunion? Find out in our Bunion Basics tip sheet.

Bunion Blues and Shoes
Are your shoe selections worsening your bunion? Check out our Bunion Blues and Shoes tip sheet to learn more.

Order a FREE Poster for Your Office
Check out this download of a bunions poster – APMA members can get one directly from the APMA e-store

Have More Bunion Questions?
Contact We Treat Feet’s Expert (and Friendly) Staff, they’d be happy to answer any questions you may have!

Source:APMA

Flatfeet in Children – Cause for Concern?

An article by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons warns that Pediatric Flatfoot, a childhood condition can, if left untreated, result in permanent deformity in adulthood. Flatfoot deformity makes mobility and exercise painful, increasing the risk of reduced cardiovascular health and obesity.

All reasons why it is imperative for parents to keep a close eye on their childrens’ foot development – namely by having them visit a podiatrist at any sign of discomfort.

“Parents never want their child to undergo a surgical procedure,” says Mary Crawford, DPM, FACFAS, an Everett, Washington foot and ankle surgeon, “but uncorrected symptomatic flatfoot can lead to chronic pain and instability as the child ages into adulthood. Children will be on their feet for a long time to come. It’s vital to keep those feet healthy. A foot and ankle surgeon can help parents understand the options – surgical and non-surgical – for treating pediatric flatfoot.”

Not every child with pediatric flatfoot will display symptoms but many will complain of discomfort, tenderness or cramping in the foot, ankle or knee area.  It also makes participating in physical activities difficult, so parents should take note if the child is not participating in these activities with their friends.

So how do doctors diagnose pediatric flatfoot?  The DPM will evaluate the child’s foot in weight bearing and non-weight bearing positions, both in and out of shoes and will also note how the child walks and evaluates the foot’s range of motion.  For further detailed analysis, the physician may order imaging tests such as x-ray, a CT scan, MRI or bone scan.

So moral of the story – don’t mess around if your child appears to have symptoms of pediatric flatfoot as it could have direct, deleterious effects on their future health.

Source:
American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons

Prom Season is Almost Upon Us! How to Choose the Right Shoes (for Your Foot Style & Health!)

Get Your Feet Ready For Prom!
Choosing prom shoes for girls isn’t always easy and oftentimes critical factors such as comfort and fit are overlooked because you fall in love with a certain style or color, a decision that is frequently regretted about 30 minutes into the big night.  Our goal is to encourage you and your friends/family to make smart decisions from a health perspective while still keeping it stylish on Prom Night!

Comfort, Comfort, Comfort!
Comfort needs to be the number one thing you consider with these shoes.  Period.  You’re going to be spending a really long time standing, dancing, running, etc throughout the night and the last thing you need to worry about is discomfort on your feet.

Heels or No Heels?
Heels are obviously a very popular choice for prom but they should bring some consideration before you choose the wear them – do you wear them often?  Have you had issues with them before?  Have you spent long periods of time in them?  There’s no crime in not wearing heels because if you think you may have an issue, you probably will.  Wedges can be a good compromise between giant heels and the more comfortable flats – but just make sure you give it some honest thought!

Go Your Own Way!
Don’t worry about fitting in with what all the other girls are doing – go with your own style!  It’s very likely that you’ll be able to pick out what shoes most girls are going to wear so it wouldn’t be a crime to choose something completely different.  Sure you may get some weird looks from other (jealous) girls but at least you’ll be comfortable and doing your own thing!

Have any questions or comments about choosing the right Prom shoes?  Drop us a line at info@wetreatfeetpodiatry.com or 410-363-4343.

1 2