What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body is unable to use it properly. This is because the body’s method of converting glucose into energy is not working as it should.
THERE ARE TWO COMMON FORMS OF DIABETES
How diabetes can affect your feet?
Your feet are supplied with blood to keep them healthy. They also have a multitude of nerves that act as an emergency warning system. For example, if you have a stone in your shoe, nerves will send a message to your brain to investigate. However, if your diabetes is neuropathy’, which impairs sensation to the feet, and/or reduced blood supply, also known as ‘poor circulation’. Nerve damage may mean that you no longer notice the stone in your shoe, due to loss of sensation to your feet. This could then lead to an injury you can’t feel, and possibly infection. If you have poor circulation, any injuries or infections to your feet (ie cuts, burns or scratches) will take longer to heal. This is due to less blood flowing into the arteries in your feet. Blood provides energy to working muscles and aids in healing any tissue damage. If you have poor circulation, you will need to take extra care to protect your feet from injury.
Most foot problems in people who have diabetes occur when injuries — and often infections –go unnoticed and untreated, or when healing is delayed due to poor circulation. poorly controlled for a long period of time, this may lead to: nerve damage, or ‘peripheral with diabetes, even corns between toes should be treated seriously. The bruising that has appeared beneath this corn is a warning sign that ulceration and infection may soon develop.
How can I detect any changes early?
A six monthly foot assessment by your podiatrist will help to detect any changes early — before they become a problem. In an assessment, your podiatrist will examine your circulation by feeling foot pulses. They will also examine sensation by testing reflexes, vibration and pressure sensitivity. Your podiatrist will also look for general foot conditions which may lead to future problems. They will work with you to show you how to monitor your own feet, in between consultations. We generally review our Diabetic patients every 10 weeks to monitor any changes and maintain health feet. We find by providing regular treatment our patients have a better outcome than managing their care at home.
As a General Guide
- Maintain acceptable blood sugar level control
- Don’t smoke
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid barefoot walking
- Keep your feet clean
- Wear well-fitting shoes
- Cut and file nails carefully
- Have corns, calluses and other foot problems treated by a podiatrist
- Seek your podiatrist’s advice before using a commercial corn cure
The best type of footwear fits well and protects your feet. Wherever possible, wear shoes to avoid injury. Ensure your shoe is — deep enough and broad enough. Our podiatrists are trained in Diabetic footwear and can provide advice regarding the right footwear for you. We also stock a range of Dr. Comfort Diabetic footwear.
Government funded programs such as the Medicare ‘Enhanced Primary Care Program’ available to those patients who suffer from Diabetes and Department of Veterans’ Affairs patients are able to attend our practice and consultations will be bulk billed.
Published by the Australasian Podiatry Council.