If you have diabetes, you have a higher risk of infections than people who don’t have diabetes. Infections you are more likely to have include:
Even a small cut on the foot, for example, may not heal well and may develop into a serious, life-threatening problem.
There are several reasons you may have more infections because of your diabetes:
Most importantly, your diabetes must be controlled. Because some bacteria and yeast seem to thrive when blood sugar is high, part of the infection treatment includes good control of your blood sugar.
Your healthcare provider will prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medicine for your infection. If your foot or leg is infected, you will probably have to rest that foot or leg for days or weeks. You may need physical therapy treatments to help your foot heal. The therapist may also check how you are walking, how well your shoes fit, and if your shoes protect your feet. Sometimes a foot specialist (podiatrist) may help with your foot care. If you are having foot problems, you may need special shoes specially designed to protect your feet from injury.
Your infection will take longer to heal than an infection in someone who doesn’t have diabetes because the blood supply to your feet and legs is often not as good. If there is any question about whether the infection is healing too slowly or if it is too deep to heal easily, you may be referred to a healthcare provider who specializes in treating difficult infections in people who have diabetes. You will probably need to have frequent follow-up visits.
All parts of treating diabetic infections (diabetes control, medicine, physical therapy, and rest), especially infections of the feet and legs, are important in preventing amputations. But the cornerstone of preventing amputations and other complications is good blood sugar control.