There are several medical conditions in podiatry that can result in frequent or non-healing wounds to the feet (known to podiatrists as foot ulcers). Diabetes is one of the most common, but there are others, such as peripheral neuropathy, atherosclerosis, and Raynaud’s phenomenon. Without going into the scientific differences of these medical issues, there are four main reasons that ulcers form and get worse.
1. Poor Circulation
Circulation is the process in which your body pumps blood in order to get oxygen and nutrients to every inch of your body through a system of veins and arteries. When there is a circulation problem, the areas of your body that are farthest from your heart are usually the first victims, especially the feet, and this often results in sores, called ulcers. When blood can’t reach the cells of your feet, the tissue is more susceptible to wounds, and those wounds are more likely to get infected and less likely to heal on their own. Prolonged lack of good blood flow can cause the tissue in your feet to starve and die (e.g., gangrene). People with diabetes are at an increased risk for peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that restricts blood flow to the feet and legs.
2. Bad pain response
The lack of circulation can cause temporary numbness or even nerve damage. Your nerves send signals to your brain (which we experience as pain), and this is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. Over time, people with diabetes may have nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy. People without good feeling in their feet can be doing a lot of damage without knowing it, such as wearing shoes that are too tight (making circulation worse), putting too much pressure on their feet, or even injuring their feet without noticing it. Imagine stepping on a piece of glass and continuing to walk on it because you didn’t know it happened. If there is numbness or nerve damage, a foot wound can happen, get infected, and get more severe without the person knowing there’s a problem that requires medical attention.
3. Weak immune system.
Your immune system helps fight infections and heal. The healing process requires the circulatory system to get infection fighting cells to the source of the problem and also to get the toxins and fluids out. The same damage to arteries and pathways to the feet that causes the ulcers, also makes it hard for your body’s natural defenses to fix the problem. When we are healthy, we are used to small wounds on our feet healing quickly on their own, but for people with a weakened immune system, they do not heal and even get worse.
4. Lack of appropriate self care and medical care.
If you have diabetes especially, or any condition in which you have poor circulation and/or feeling in your feet, you and your doctor need to take extra precautions. It’s important for someone with poor circulation to pay extra attention to their feet by keeping them clean and well tended and by always wearing socks and well fitting shoes. It’s also important to regularly inspect the feet for sores and warm spots. These issues can turn into serious problems, because they are prone to bad infections and gangrene, which can mean the amputation of a toe, foot, or part of the foot or leg. Many people are guilty of ignoring these problems until it is too late. Doctors can also be guilty of missing warning signs of dangerous foot ulcers before significant injuries occur. If you have a severe foot ulcer situation and you were receiving treatment from a health care provider for it, you might need to speak to an attorney to determine if negligence was involved.
Get in Touch with an Experienced Baltimore Attorney
At Brown & Barron, LLC, we put our clients first because we genuinely care about them and want to help them obtain the compensation they legally deserve. We understand that a legal claim may be the only option for some individuals to be able to afford the treatment they need to heal. We also know that making a podiatrist answer for their actions in a court of law can prevent similar malpractices from happening in the future. That is why we are so committed to helping our clients.
Our award-winning lawyers offer free case evaluations to individuals injured by podiatrist malpractice in Baltimore and throughout Maryland. The sooner you call, the sooner we can help you get started on your claim. With more than 75 years of collective legal experience, you can rest assured knowing that your case is in experienced hands.
Call (410) 698-1717 to arrange a free consultation with a Baltimore podiatrist malpractice lawyer at Brown & Barron, LLC.