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Diabetes And Foot Health

Multi-generation family walking on beachPeople with diabetes may develop problems with the smaller blood vessels which supply the feet. As the circulation gets worse, so do the person’s nerves and muscles that rely on this blood supply. The foot problems in diabetes will often lead to numbness and muscle wasting in the ankle, feet and toes. The person’s ability to detect a problem, like a cut, sore or burn is decreased due to the gradual loss of feeling in the feet, exposing them to the risk of even worse injury , infection or diabetic foot ulcer.

Our Podiatrist, Dr Liz Edwards, is an expert in the care of diabetes and foot care.  All our Podiatrists are able to assist with regular routine neurologic, vascular and walking examinations. This is very important to maintaining good foot health for our increasing diabetic population. Many people with diabetes may also qualify for treatment under the government’s Medicare program, please ask your doctor for a referral to Central City Podiatry and check if you qualify for this type of service for diabetic foot care.

Do you suffer from diabetes? If so, management of your feet is very important.

Basic Footcare for Diabetics

  • It is important to check your feet daily for any changes to the skin (e.g. cuts, abrasions, blisters, cracks, scratches etc). If present be sure to dress the area with some antiseptic immediately.
  • It is important to maintain adequate foot hygiene by regularly washing, and drying your feet thoroughly (especially drying in between the toes).
  • Moisturise your feet daily with a suitable cream (avoid in between the toes).
  • Cut toenails straight across and file the corners to prevent sharp edges.
  • Use breathable clean wool or cotton socks

Other Recommendations

  • Good nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Blood sugar level stability: check your blood sugars on a regular basis

Complications of Diabetes

The prevalence of diabetes has escalated world wide, and although it has an effect on the body as a whole; the feet can be largely involved by the disease process. As the disease progresses, it can have an effect on both the blood and nerve supply of the feet. Therefore, maintenance with regular foot screenings and routine foot-care is very important to prevent complications from occurring. Those with prolonged diabetes and/or poorly controlled blood glucose levels are more prone to the foot complications associated with the disease; such as poor wound healing or the development of ulceration, infection and amputation. An essential aspect to having diabetes is the understanding that the complications associated with the disease are ALL very PREVENTABLE and manageable.

Blood Supply

Diabetes affects the arteries that supply blood to the feet. The resultant lack of blood flow to areas may prevent any trauma (e.g. cut or abrasion) to heal as rapidly; and this increases the risk of infection. A reduced blood supply diminishes the oxygen and nutrients available for any of the tissues to heal.

Signs of poor blood supply:

  • Sharp cramping in the legs or feet when walking short distances
  • Sharp cramping in the legs or feet while resting or sleeping
  • Cold feet to touch
  • Red/blue skin colour
  • Cuts or abrasions are slow to heal
  • Loss of hair growth on the top of the foot
  • Dry/thin skin

Nerve Supply

The extent of nerve supply damage is highly correlated to the length of time you have had diabetes, and also the stability of blood sugar levels. The damage affects the nerves furthest first (i.e. the toes and foot), and then may progress to the ankle. This pattern of progression is termed ‘peripheral neuropathy’.

Neuropathy increases the risk of injury or soft tissue trauma, as the ability to perceive painful stimuli is diminished. The motor nerve (muscle) function is also weakened, which may predispose to the development of foot deformities, which places abnormal loading on certain areas of the feet. This can then predispose the individual to developing ulcers on the diabetic feet, which may heel at a prolonged rate due to diminished blood supply.

Some signs of peripheral neuropathy include (Most signs are normally symmetrical):

  • Pain, burning, tingling, numbness, hot/cold sensation, or pins and needles in the feet
  • Weakness in the feet and legs

Want to Learn More?

: If you’re dealing with diabetes and want to learn more about proper foot health, contact our caring team today to get started. We look forward to meeting you.
CONTACT US

Diabetes and Foot Health Perth CBD | Central City Podiatry | (08) 9221 4998