Diabetes and Feet - Podiatry
What is Diabetes?
There are 3 types of Diabetes:
Diabetes and Feet
Over time poorly managed Diabetes can affect the nerves of the feet resulting in altered sensations such as numbness and tingling and eventually loss of feeling to the feet.
If the person does not control their Diabetes, is sedentary, has had Diabetes a long time or smokes it can put them at increased risk of these side effects. Diabetes can also reduce the circulation to your feet faster than the ageing process can. It can lead to increased risk of infection, dry skin that cracks open and structural changes such as increased pressure areas and changes to the joints.
Long term this can cause increased risk of wounds (Ulcers) and bone infections (Osteomyelitis) and reduction in blood flow (amputations).
Diabetes and Podiatry
When assessing a diabetics foot, your Podiatrist will perform a full neurovascular assessment. This involves a full medical history and history of your Diabetes. Risk factors that may inhibit your health are assessed. The main aspects of a podiatry foot assessment include:
A full assessment of the circulation is performed, including a Doppler to check the blood flow.
The nerves of the feet will be tested to see if they are functioning adequately.
Your Podiatrist will examine for structural changes, skin changes, pain and assess your footwear.
They will get an idea on your lifestyle habits and Diabetic knowledge.
The above assessments will allow your podiatrist to advise whether your feet are classified Low, Medium or High risk. This determines how often you need reassessment and monitoring to prevent complications with your Diabetes.
Your Podiatrist will make recommendations on areas that you can improve on and provide you with education in areas of managing your Diabetes and foot health. A full report will be attached to your file so your progress can be monitored.
A report will also be forwarded to your referring GP so that they are aware of your foot health status.
Our Podiatrists work as part of a larger multidisciplinary and can refer you to Physiotherapists, Exercise Physiologists and Diabetic Educators to help control lifestyle factors so that your foot health is not affected.
Our Podiatry appointments are all a minimum of 30-minutes, which will allow your Podiatrist time to educate you on how to care for your feet at home and answer any questions you may have.
Speak to your Podiatrist and other health practitioners for more information about caring for your feet
Caring for your Feet
Speak to your Podiatrist and other health practitioners for more information about caring for your feet. If you have diabetes it is recommended that you have your feet checked by a podiatrist at least once a year.
However, you should also check your own feet every day:
Check the skin and nails for openings and changes. If you are unable to see use a mirror or get someone to check for you.
Do contact or return to your Podiatrist if you are uncertain about changes eg wounds not healing, a rash
Seek help managing toenails and hard skin if you are unable to self care
Moisturise to avoid openings that infections can enter
Protect your feet - try not to go bare foot and make sure shoe fit is excellent
If you are getting corns and callous speak to you Podiatrist about preventing this eg footwear, orthotics
Do not wear socks that are too tight
Keep feet away from hot objects eg hot water bottles, electric blankets, heaters
Seek medical advice early if you are concerned about any changes.
Dress all openings to the skin and if not healing check with you Podiatrist