Diabetes and Foot Surgery

Curtis Wagner
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Dr. Curtis Wagner provides both conservative and surgical care for bunions, ingrown nails and sports injuries.

Are you diabetic? If so, you probably know all about how diabetes can affect your feet and the concerns you might have. You also may have heard about never having foot surgery if you are diabetic. This is certainly a true statement in concept, as it's best not to cut on any part of your body if it is not absolutely necessary. But what if you have a foot problem that is always causing pain, an ulcer, an infection, or a hammertoe or bunion? Believe it or not, most diabetics have good blood flow to their feet, and if blood sugar is well controlled, you may be a wonderful candidate for a surgery that would fix your foot problem permanently.

Although foot surgery always has the inherent risks of infection, slow healing, and formation of scar tissue, the risks to a diabetic of NOT having surgery to fix the problem may be even greater. These risks include a continuing mechanical issue that itself may result in infection and loss of a toe or a foot, and the fact that as you get older, and blood sugar control may not be as good as it is now, you become less likely to heal properly. That mechanical problem caused by the bunion or hammertoe will only worsen with time, so fixing it now may be the better choice if you are diabetic.

Weigh the options and talk with your podiatrist and your primary care physician, just don't discount foot surgery as a viable option, if needed.

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