Feet Pain: Why Do My Feet Hurt? (cont.)

Dr. Mauser: Regarding this question, I will comment on the feet with diabetes in general. This case should be evaluated more completely by this woman's physician. Diabetes in general will affect feet in several ways, in circulation either on a large or small vessel. This is called macro- and microangiopathy. This results in decreased blood flow to the extremities resulting in pain, ulceration, gangrene, and if not corrected can result in loss of toes, foot, or limb. This type of condition is evaluated by a podiatrist, and if necessary, surgery for revascularization can be performed by surgeon to restore blood flow to the limb. A second way diabetes affects the foot or extremity is neuropathy, which can affect the nerves, resulting in a wide range of symptoms such as numbness, tingling, complete loss of sensation, burning, crawling sensation, restless sensation. An offshoot of neuropathy is loss of sensation of movement of the joint, resulting in destruction of the joint and bony structure of the foot. This is called Charcot foot, or condition. In general, it's important that diabetics take care of their feet. Diabetic patients should inspect their feet daily, cleanse their feet regularly, wear good shoes and socks, take care of problems immediately, and should be inspected by their podiatrist on at least a yearly basis. Whether treatment of diabetic feet is a covered Medicare service is left to each individual situation, and evaluations by their podiatrist.

Moderator: Can you give us some tips to maintain good foot health?

Dr. Mauser: 1. Take care of them. They need to last a lifetime. 2. Wear sensible shoes. 3. Don't neglect problems that arise. If they hurt, see somebody about it. 4. Take care of problems such as hammer toe, bunions, heel pain. They will not get better as time goes on. 5. See your podiatrist.

Moderator: We are almost out of time. Dr. Mauser, do you have any final comments?

Dr. Mauser: I think we covered them in the last question. I've enjoyed taking your questions, and giving you the WebMD public the opportunity to ask questions, and to answer them. I've tried to talk in general terms. Nothing I've said is necessarily advice, and if you have a medical problem you seek out care. It's been fun. I know there's lots of questions, and perhaps we can do this again sometime.

Moderator: We are out of time. Our thanks to our guest Dr. Alan K. Mauser.

Moderator: For more information, please visit the Humana website at www.humana.com and the American Podiatric Medical Association website at www.apma.org. Also visit our WebMD message boards and articles for more information.

Moderator: Thanks for joining us for Humana Live Events. Be well and goodbye.

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