Kick diabetes-related foot pain to the curb
J.C. Nunn was living with chronic foot pain for weeks, and he didn’t know where to turn. November is American Diabetes Month, and his story is a reminder of what can happen if chronic foot pain isn’t addressed quickly.
Nunn says, “I got an infection in my foot, and it seemed like I wasn’t getting any better. I went to talk to my primary doctor, and he sent me to Dr. [Renita] Parker, and she was the right person for me to see. If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have my toes right now.”
Nunn was suffering from an ischemic limp, a severe blockage in the arteries of the lower extremities, which markedly reduces blood flow. This can be caused by uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease, and other conditions.
Dr. Renita Parker is a podiatrist, a specialist that is trained to identify medical emergencies to the lower extremity, at-risk diabetics, wound care, as well as common problems that affect patient’s everyday life such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and other foot deformities.
On the condition Nunn was suffering with, she says, “According to an article in Endovascular Today, CLI (critical limp ischemia) has increased over the last decade by 12.6 percent and is often misdiagnosed. It is a sad truth, but I have found that patients have suffered from ischemia pain thinking it was just a ‘normal’ thing, and then later find that they have a decrease in circulation, or in some patients, the absence of circulation to a limb. A non-invasive test called an Arterial Doppler or Venous Doppler helps identify those patients more at risk for CLI which can lead to lower limb amputations.”
“I thought I had an ingrown toenail, and by the time Dr. Parker saw my toes, she told me exactly what was wrong,” says Nunn. As soon as she saw his foot, she sent him to have emergency surgery.
Nunn explains that the procedure he received was focused on improving circulation to his foot, and it was a quick stay in the hospital. Just a week post-op, he is feeling much better.
When asked why she chose this specialization, she says, “Podiatry gives me the ability to see patients from 2 years old to 102 years old, and it allows me to have long-standing relationships with patients and their families, which is very meaningful to me.” She adds, “It is my belief that working as a team, we give patients the best possible outcomes, and for Mr. Nunn, this was just one example of that.”
If you are suffering from persistent foot pain and aren’t sure where to turn, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to get the care you need.