Diabetes mellitus is a condition where the affected person has high blood sugar, either due to failure of insulin production in the Pancreas (Type 1) or because the cells in the body are resistant to insulin (Type 2).
Podiatry is one of the essential professions within diabetic care, and have an important role to play in preventing and managing foot complications amongst people with diabetes. Feet can be greatly affected by diabetes and should be monitored regularly for any changes.
National Diabetes Health Care Guidelines recommend people with diabetes have their feet checked by a podiatrist every 6-12 months.
How diabetes affects your feet?
Diabetes can cause nerve damage (numbness, pins/needles) on your feet known as peripheral neuropathy.
Diabetes can affect the circulation in the feet. Poor circulation means that your body’s normal response to healing is reduced.
People with diabetes are more prone to feet infections.
Diabetes complications can lead to foot ulcers and amputations.
Diabetes can affect joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments to change making them stiffer.
At FootMed Podiatry, we will perform comprehensive annual foot assessments (more regularly if required) to determine any risk factors and ensure your feet are in good health. The diabetic assessment involves multiple neurological (nerve sensation) assessments, assessing the arterial circulation to the feet, if needed, using a Doppler Ultrasound and skin and nail assessments.
Further to the assessment, footwear education will also be given ensuring the most comfortable, protective yet safest shoe is selected for you. The podiatrist will also cut the toenails, remove and debridement any corns or calluses if necessary.
Due to an increase risk of complications in the feet, diabetics are often advised to get their toenails cut by a podiatrist. Whilst not all diabetics need their nails cut, those at risk of circulation problems, a loss of feeling in their feet, eye site problems or a decrease in flexibility are often advised to see a podiatrist.
Failure of wound healing or ulcers on your feet can occur if you have diabetes and have associated complications including changes to the blood flow. This risk is significantly higher if your blood glucose control is poor, and healing these can be very challenging.