Diabetic Foot

In accordance with Diabetes Australia, our podiatrists view foot care as essential for diabetes healthcare.

Our doctors advice to you:

  • If you have diabetes whether type 1 opr type 2 you need to take care of your feet daily
  • Your feet are at a higher risk of peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) and peripheral vascular disease (poor blood flow) to the extremities (toes). Therefore if you experience any foot injury, your body’s ability to fight infection might be extremely low, that can lead to foot ulcers that are difficult to heal.
  • Having uncontrolled diabetes will increase your risk of foot ulcers, infections and at worst amputations

Why is Diabetes dangerous?

Throughout our decades of experience our doctors know that your feet are at risk because diabetes can cause damage to the nerves in your feet, blood circulation and infection.
Having diabetes can increase your risk of foot ulcers and amputations. This damage is more likely if:

  • You have chronic diabetes mellitus
  • Your Blood sugar levels (BSL) have been too high for an extended period or yo-yo
  • You smoke or vape – smoking causes a reduced blood flow to your feet, wounds heal slowly
  • You are inactive and overweight

At Lane Cove Podiatry we insist that you check your feet daily for

  • Ulcers or wounds
  • Unusual swelling or oozing of fluid
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Blisters or boils
  • Ingrown toenails or pain around the toes
  • Bruising or cuts

If you see any of the following- get medical treatment with as soon as possible

  • Broken skin between toes
  • Callus/hard skin
  • Corns
  • Cracked skin
  • Discoloration in the toenails

Nerve damage

Poor blood sugar level management can eventually nerve damage to your legs & feet.

Symptoms of nerve neuropathy can include:

  • Numbness
  • Coldness of the legs and toes
  • A tingling, pins and needles sensation in the feet and toes
  • Burning pains in the legs and feet, usually more noticeable in bed at night

These symptoms can result in a loss of sensation in the feet which increases the risk of accidental damage because you can’t feel any pain. Any injury to your feet can develop into an ulcer on the bottom of a foot which can penetrate to the bone. This could lead to infection into the bone (osteomyelitis) and a chronic infection in the bones and joints. If an infection isn’t treated at the earliest signs, this could result in ulceration (an infected open sore) and eventually amputation (removal of a toe, foot or limb).

You must our podiatrists if you have any of these symptoms.

Blood supply

Poor blood glucose management can cause a reduced supply of blood to the feet. This makes people with diabetes more prone to infection following any injury that breaks the skin. Signs of poor

Blood supply include:

  • Sharp leg cramps after walking short distances or up stairs
  • Pain in the feet, even at rest (often in the early hours of the morning)
  • Feet feeling cold
  • Feet looking a reddish-blue colour
  • Cuts which are slow to heal.

Checking your feet

According to our Doctors in accordance with Diabetes Australia there are two levels of risk in feet, high risk and low risk. Our advice as footcare specialists is that minimizing the risk and taking care of your feet can prevent serious problems like ulcers, infections and amputation. Our doctors at Lane Cove Podiatry will carry out an easy and painless check on your feet to determine whether your feet have a low or high risk of developing more serious problems.

Low risk feet

Low risk feet have normal sensation and good blood flow. Our doctors insist that it is important to know that low risk feet can become high risk feet without symptoms, so yearly or biyearly checks are important.

High risk feet

Our doctors would identify people who have had a foot ulcer or amputation in the past to be at high risk. Often feet with calluses or deformities like clawed toes also have increased risk especially with poor feeling and often decreased circulation are also present.

Our warning to you is if your feet are at high risk, you should have them checked by our doctors every 2 – 3 months.

In some extreme cases you may be referred to a specialist vascular surgeon or high risk foot ulcer clinic.

 

During your diabetes foot health check-up our doctors will:

  • Check blood flow (circulation) with either doppler or palpate pulses.
  • Feeling and reflexes (nerves) using reflex hammers and monofilaments
  • Assess unusual foot shapes (including bunions, claw toes and hammer toes)
  • Toenails (thickened ingrown or fungal toenails)
  • Test the skin for dryness, calluses, corns, cracks or infections.
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