Can I Have Foot Surgery If I Am Diabetic?

The need for foot surgery arises from time to time in people of all ages, due to a wide variety of conditions which are not always fixed by nonsurgical treatment.  These include bone and tendon injuries, bone deformities causing pain, and growths on and under the skin.  Diabetics have their fair share of these conditions.  Many people assume that elective surgery is prohibited in diabetics.  In actuality, this is completely untrue.

Diabetes can lead to a host of problems, which can include more difficulty in healing skin and soft tissue wounds (which the incision during surgery creates), as well as a greater likelihood of developing a bacterial infection after the skin is compromised.  For these reasons, many people are reluctant to undergo foot surgery in all but the most urgent cases, and justifiably so.

That being said, if a diabetic is able to keep their blood sugar under relatively good control, the complications associated with diabetes are less, and the likelihood of problems during recovery is likewise less.   In fact, in many cases, diabetes is only a problem for a surgical candidate if the blood sugar is poorly controlled.  Add to this the fact that many foot deformities lead to more ongoing and serious problems in diabetics (like chronic wounds that can become infected to the bone and lead to amputation), and one can see that in some situations foot surgery is necessary.  This is certainly true in the case of bunions and hammertoes that make proper shoe fitting difficult and lead to ongoing skin wounds from the contact with the shoe material.

In short, diabetics can undergo foot surgery, and in some cases need to have surgery to prevent more serious problems.

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