Diabetic Foot Infections

Robert Kosofsky, D.P.M.
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Piscataway & Hillsborough Podiatrist, Dr. Robert Kosofsky has over 25 years of experience.

Infections are often a problem in persons with diabetes, since they have difficulty fighting off bacteria that enter the skin from cuts or other wounds. This is due, in part, to certain deficiencies in the activity of white blood cells. Apparently, uncontrolled high glucose levels impair normal immune responses to bacterial invaders. The result can be an overwhelming infection in the foot.

How They Develop:

Without the ability to feel pain or without the ability to deliver white blood cells to the site of injury, infections can frequently become serious in a short period of time. The first sign of such serious infections might be very high blood sugars or flu-like symptoms, which I call the "Diabetic Foot Flu". Unfortunately, fever is often absent or delayed in diabetic foot infections. Therefore, when you develop a fever, proper attention must be given to your situation immediately. Infections are the most frequent reason for hospitalizing diabetic patients and can progress to bone involvement in a relatively short period of time. Deep infections almost always require some type of surgery for treatment, so it is best to catch these problems early and avoid this serious complication.

Causes:

Foot deformities such as hammertoes, bunions, and metatarsal disorders are common in the general population, but have a special significance in the diabetic population. When neuropathy or poor circulation is present, these deformities place the foot at increased risk for developing pressure lesions (corns, calluses, blisters, ulcerations, etc.) from tight shoes or simple walking. Serious infections can result if these lesions go untreated.

Treatment:

​Often, people are forced to be hospitalized when they have a diabetic infection. If you or a loved one has an infection and is diabetic, you should see a doctor immediately.