Diabetes Mellitus is a disease that results when the body is not able to control the amount of sugar in the blood. In Type I diabetes, also known as juvenile or insulin dependent diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough of the hormone insulin. Insulin is essential to transport sugar from the blood into cells to be used as energy. When the pancreas does not produce insulin or enough insulin, the cells do not have enough energy to function properly and the amount of sugar in the blood builds up. In Type II diabetes, or adult onset or non-insulin dependent diabetes, the pancreas may be producing plenty of insulin, but the cells of the body are not able to use it to transport the sugar. Again the levels of sugar rise in the blood.
Now how does this all relate to orthotics? Many of the patients we see at Custom Orthotic Design Group Ltd. have diabetes and are in fact, referred to us to treat and help manage the complications of diabetes.
The high levels of sugar in the body cause damage to the nerves of the body. There are many different types of nerves in our bodies including motor, sensory and autonomic. Motor nerves send messages to the muscles to cause movement such as walking or wiggling a toe. Sensory nerves tell us if something is touching or hurting us and where our body parts are in relation to each other (proprioception). Autonomic nerves are responsible for changes to our blood flow, temperature causing us to blush and sweat. When any of the nerves are impaired (neuropathy), our body does not work as it is supposed to.
Treatment depends on the requirements of the individual. Some options may be:
Foot drop → ankle foot orthosis