Diabetes and Podiatry
Diabetes is a serious and complex disease. Patients who have diabetes are unable to maintain healthy levels of glucose in their blood. Glucose is a form of sugar which is the main source of energy for our bodies.
It is important for patients to have their feet assessed by a Podiatrist, as decreased nerve sensitivity and reduced circulation to the feet is a complication of Diabetes and can also place the patient at an increased risk of infections such as tinea and cellulitis
National Diabetes Health Care Guidelines recommend that people with diabetes have their feet assessed by a podiatrist at least every 12 months.
This involves a vascular and neurological assessment which enables the Podiatrist to determine the risk-status of developing Diabetes-related foot complications.
A Diabetic foot assessment will include:
- Vascular assessment – this includes a Doppler assessment to ascertain how well the blood is circulating to the feet.
- Neurological assessment – this assesses the nerve sensitivity in the feet and will determine if there is enough protective sensation to avoid injury.
- Footwear and foot care education – to determine other risk factors that may place the patient at a higher risk of diabetes-related foot complications.
Foot care tips for people with Diabetes:
- See your podiatrist or doctor immediately if you suspect a problem.
- Have a foot check-up with your podiatrist every 12 months.
- Keep your diabetes under good control – it lessens the chance of short and long term complications.
- Buy well-fitting shoes with plenty of room – have your Podiatrist assess new footwear purchases to ensure they are suitable.
- Never walk outdoors without shoes to prevent trauma – prevention is the best cure!
- Don’t try and treat foot problems like ingrown toenails or corns yourself – you may do more harm than good.
- Check feet daily – signs of swelling, redness or heat may be indicators of an infection.
- Don’t smoke – smoking causes spasms and narrowing of the blood vessels.
- Exercise daily – a brisk walk will help keep the blood flowing around your body.
- Wash your feet daily and dry well between the toes.
- Use methylated spirits if there is a lot of excess moisture between your toes.
- Moisturise dry skin, especially cracked heels.
- Check the temperature of bath water with your elbow before stepping in.
- Be careful not to put your feet too close to radiant heaters.