What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a complex condition where the body no longer produces or produces insufficient quantities of insulin, resulting in increased sugar (glucose) levels in the blood stream. This can have a number of adverse effects on the feet and it is why preventative foot care is important for all patients who suffer from diabetes. There are two types of diabetes:
TYPE 1 DIABETES – occurs in people where the pancreas fails to produce any insulin.
TYPE 2 DIABETES – is the most common form and occurs when the pancreas can still produce insulin but it does not produce enough or it is ineffective.
It doesn’t matter if you suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes it is still vitally important you see one of our podiatrists as your feet may be at risk.
How does diabetes impact on the feet?
- Damage to the nerves in the feet (neuropathy)
Neuropathy can result from poor blood glucose control and damage to the nerves in your feet. This causes a loss of protective sensation meaning your feet may be unable to detect injury. For example you may not be aware of an ulcer on the bottom of your foot as you do not feel any pain. This can then lead to more serious foot complications like infection or even amputation if not treated. Symptoms of neuropathy can include numbness, tingling, pins and needles or a burning sensation in the feet.
- Damage to the blood vessels that supply the lower limb
Poor blood glucose control may cause a reduction in the blood supply to the feet, the inner lining of the blood vessels can change in structure. Poor circulation delays healing and makes people with diabetes more susceptible to infection following any cut or wound to the foot. Symptoms of poor blood supply may include cold feet, cramps and pain.
If you have diabetes it is important to see one of our podiatrists at our clinic for preventative foot care. Diabetics who have nerve damage, poor circulation, and neglect their feet are at high risk of developing more serious foot problems like ulcers, infections and even amputation.
Role of the podiatrist
A diabetes foot health assessment is conducted by our podiatrists, it involves obtaining a thorough medical history and foot assessment. Our podiatrists will assess the circulation (blood flow) and sensation in your feet.
What can you do?
- Performing daily foot checks, inspecting sole of the feet and in between the toes
- Wearing appropriately fitting footwear which suit your foot type
- Daily application of moisturiser to improve skin integrity and hydration to prevent cracks in the skin
- Dry thoroughly in between your toes after showering
- Ensuring you have a diabetes assessment every 6-12 months to monitor your circulation and sensation
- Maintaining good blood glucose control (6-8mmol/L)
Need more information?
- Further information can be found on our diabetes foot management page on the website
- Ask your doctor today about a diabetes foot health assessment
- Give our friendly staff a call today to book your assessment 0435 722 565
- Book your foot health assessment online via our website http://www.enablepodiatry.com.au