One of the most traumatic results of diabetes is amputation. Many patients lose part of a foot or leg because of wounds that don’t heal. One cause of these ulcers is a condition in which patients literally crush their own bones. Doctors are now using a special surgery to stabilize the bones of the feet.
Every step a person takes is a complex chain of events. Bones and joints work in harmony to attain motion. But in some diabetics…something goes wrong.
M.D., Foot & Ankle Surgery:
“They lose the actual feeling of bones and joints within their foot. Undertaking normal activities such as walking… they can actually crush their own bones.”
32-year-old Anka knows how devastating the condition can be. It damaged one foot so badly that several doctors recommended amputation.
“It looked like I didn’t have an ankle — that’s how bad it was swollen. It just all blended in. It looked like a big ball was on the bottom of my feet.”
Anka crushed part of the bone in the back of her foot. To replace it, doctors fused together existing bones, which restored stability.
“And we achieve, in many cases, a foot that is stable. The patient can resume their regular activities without wearing braces or special shoes.”
Not all patients can undergo surgery. Doctors cannot operate on feet with damaged skin or ulcers or on patients with poor circulation. For Anka, the procedure worked so well that she recently had her other foot done. As a busy mother, Anka is happy to be standing on her own two feet.
This bone-crushing condition is often misdiagnosed in diabetics. Patients usually go to the doctor for redness and painless swelling…something many doctors mistakenly think is an infection. They don’t suspect a bone fracture because the patients don’t feel pain. The lack of pain is due to nerve damage caused by diabetes.