• My Family Podiatry

Diabetes & Your Feet - What you need to know!

Diabetes is a common medical condition that affects many body systems including our feet! At My Family Podiatry, we love to be proactive and support our patients in understanding how diabetes may impact their foot health and work to reduce their risk of developing foot complications.

Diabetes can impact the feet in many ways including:

  1. Reduced blood flow to the extremities: Diabetes can narrow and harden the blood vessels carrying blood to your feet. This can result in cold feet, changes in colour and slower healing.

  2. Reduced ability to heal and fight infections: This reduced blood flow can slow down healing in your feet and legs. This provides greater opportunity for infection and can result in ulcers and in extreme cases gangrene and amputation.

  3. Changes in foot sensations: Diabetes can affect the nerves of the feet resulting in a condition called peripheral neuropathy. Common symptoms include pins and needles or tingling in the feet, burning sensations and a loss of feeling in the toes and feet. In severe instances, you may not realise you have injured or cut your foot until seeing a trail of blood behind you.

  4. Skin changes: This may include increased dryness or areas of hard skin underneath the feet or at the tips of the toes.

  5. Changes to the foot's shape: This can lead to areas of higher pressure on the feet and change the way the foot functions.

If Diabetes is poorly managed, ie. your blood sugar is frequently high, the effects of reduced blood flow, altered nerve functioning and foot deformity increase your risk of developing a foot ulcer (wound). Seeing a podiatrist and being informed about your foot health is a great step to understanding how you can prevent these types of complications from occurring.

When to see a Podiatrist?

If you have been diagnosed with Diabetes, we recommend at least an annual screening with a Podiatrist. Even if you are experiencing no symptoms in your feet, a screening is recommended to establish baseline measurements and monitor for any small changes. Depending on your medical history and the results of these assessments, subsequent screenings may be annual or more frequent if required.

We would recommend an appointment as soon as possible if you are experiencing:

  • Foot pain.

  • Wounds on the feet.

  • Areas of thickened and hard skin.

  • Numbness, cramping, or sharp shooting pains in the feet and legs.

What kind of assessments are completed at a diabetic foot check?

  1. A comprehensive history is taken. This includes questions about your medical history, medications, allergies, etc.

  2. Footwear checks. Remember to bring the shoes you wear the most!

  3. Assessment of the arteries and nerves of the feet.

  4. The condition of your skin and nails.

  5. An assessment of your joints and muscles. Here we look at any joint restrictions, muscle weakness, or the source of any foot pain.

After these assessments are complete, your Podiatrist can:

  1. Discuss your risk of developing foot complications (in accordance with the diabetic foot care guidelines) and how we as Podiatrists can assist you with foot care and monitoring.

  2. Things you can do to care for your feet at home.

  3. Provide footwear recommendations based on your activities.

  4. Provide reports to be sent back to your medical team (typically your general practitioner).

  5. Facilitate any imaging or further referrals (if necessary).

Our top advice for anyone with diabetes includes:

  1. Seeing your podiatrist at least annually for regular checkups.

  2. Wash, dry, and moisturise your feet each day.

  3. Visually inspect your feet each day for any skin changes including signs of skin irritation, hard or thickened skin, cuts or bruises.

  4. Wear shoes to protect your feet, especially when outdoors.

  5. Wear socks (natural fibers such as cotton or bamboo are best) without elastic at the tops so that blood flow to the feet is not restricted.

  6. Invest in quality footwear that is professionally fitted for you. This includes throwing out old shoes that are tight or give you blisters.

  7. If you have foot pain, a wound, hard skin, or odd sensations in your feet, see your Podiatrist as soon as possible.

At My Family Podiatry, diabetic assessments are bulk billed under a valid EPC referral from your GP. To book your diabetic foot assessment, contact the clinic on (07) 3088 6116 or book online today.

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