The feet of a diabetic individual is prone to different problems. Pathologic consequences of diabetes may include ulceration of the foot, tissue destruction, infection, loss of sensation, and varying degrees of vascular disease.
Ulceration of the foot secondary to diabetes usually occurs due to unperceived trauma in the presence of a peripheral vascular disease or nerve damage.
Most people have an arch or inward curvature in the soles of the feet. However, some individuals may not have this curvature. This condition is commonly known as flat feet or “fallen arches”. It occurs when the arch does not develop properly, resulting in a foot with the entire sole touching the ground.
Some babies appear to have flat feet because of baby fats, but by the age of 10, the arch should be fully developed.
There are different types of flat feet, the flexible and the rigid flat feet. The arch of flexible flat feet returns when not standing and appears flat only when weight-bearing or standing. According to research, flexible flat feet happens when the ligaments that hold the bones together softens. Those who have stiff or rigid flat feet remains flat even when not standing. They are more severe and may necessitate further management.
The Lisfranc is the area in the feet at which the long bones (leading to the toes) connect to the bones at the arch of the feet. These parts are also called the midfoot. A midfoot or a Lisfranc injury occurs if the midfoot bones, joints, or ligaments become broken or torn.
Metatarsalgia refers to a condition in which the metatarsal region of the foot (ball-of-the-foot) becomes inflamed and painful. It occurs when a callus build-up creates too much pressure over the bone.
Metatarsalgia can be a result of arthritis, or doing extreme high-impact sports, wearing ill-fitting shoes, excess weight, and stress fractures.
A stress fracture can be a severe bruising or tiny cracks on the bones of the feet. They may be due to constant force on the feet such as repeated running or walking (which usually occurs to track and field athletes). Some people call it overuse injury because when the muscles are stressed and fatigued, they become unable to resist shock from too much walking or jumping. Eventually, the stress transfers to the bones on the feet and starts to have small cracks.
It can also occur to people who have weak bones due to osteoporosis, as well as those who carry heavy bags over long distances.
Broken Heel Bone (Calcaneal Fracture)
Calcaneus is another term for a heel bone, and a fracture on this area can be very disabling. A broken heel bone is a type of fracture that can affect walking and other important normal foot function. It occurs when the heel bone hits a floorboard or any hard, heavy objects due to a traumatic event like a vehicular accident or a fall. Other causes may include: twisting injury to the ankle, repetitive stress to the heel bone, and other high-energy crashes involving the foot.
Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)
Heal pain is usually caused by Plantar Fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the fibrous strands of tissue that is located along the soles of the feet. These bands of tissue are termed as plantar fascia, and they work as shock-absorbers when people walk, jump, and move their feet.
If the tension on these fibrous tissues become too high, inflammation and irritation can occur, causing pain and discomfort. Possible causes include: wearing of ill-fitting shoes, poor foot mechanics (abnormal walking pattern), excessive weight, history of arthritis, excessive physical activity, and injury to the feet.
Plantar Fibroma and Fibromatosis
A plantar fibroma is a benign fibrous nodule found in the soles of the foot. It is usually embedded within the fibrous band of tissue running through the heels to the toes. It is believed that a plantar fibroma may occur due to trauma or overuse of the feet. The characteristic sign is a presence of a slow-growing mass/lump at the sole of the foot that feels firm to touch. It may grow larger or remain the same in size and may or may not be painful.
Fibromatosis, on the other hand, refers to a more aggressive multi-planar nodule with an infiltrative growth pattern which appears at the soles of the foot. It is characterized by the presence of rapid growing fibrotic tissue. It is also known as Ledderhose’ disease.
If a plantar fibroma usually results from a trauma or overuse injury, fibromatosis most commonly occurs as a result of a change in a genetic component.
If you suspect you have one of these conditions, contact us to discuss different options with one of our podiatrists.
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