Hello HFAA Fans and patients! Some of you may have seen me this past month sporting a super cute splint/cast on my right hand. Even doctors (especially doctors!) can be klutzy, and I tripped over my dog and fell down the stairs in early July. Several bruises and a broken hand later, I learned that I am NOT superwoman.
I have had several patients with fractured bones come in recently. Quite a few of these breaks are in my diabetic patients. Why is this important? Wound healing doesn’t JUST involve a sore on your skin. Bones take longer to heal in a patient with diabetes and it’s even more important to avoid risky behaviors. Falls can cause long term limitations in both range of motion and stability.
After a break, it is very important to listen to your physician and keep the bone stabilized. I have a LOT of diabetic patients who have had broken bones in their feet. The trick with a diabetic patient is whether or not they have peripheral neuropathy, a condition that decreases your ability to feel in your extremities. When you can’t feel something, you are more likely to walk on a broken bone. In my hand, I had to keep it immobilized for 3 weeks to avoid surgery. It was relatively easy – anytime I moved it (or my two year old daughter bumped into it) it hurt. When you are diabetic and dealing with a foot fracture, it’s even more critical to pay attention to your doctor’s instructions about whether or not you can walk on it (weight bear) and if you have to use an assistive device like crutches or a walker while your bone heals.
Good news - most of these breaks resolve uneventfully! But a non healing fracture can lead to more trouble. Don’t just take my advice as a physician – as a patient, I am back to typing and running around just 3.5 weeks after the break in my hand because I did what I was told to do, even though it was really hard! Be sure to follow up with your podiatrist if you have a fall – we want to make sure nothing is broken in those precious feet!