Having diabetes may increase your risk of developing diabetes related complications which may include nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy or poor circulation called peripheral vascular disease. It may also cause changes to your joints, muscles, skin health, hair growth and ability to heal. These complications may increase your risk of developing ulcers that may even lead to amputations.
What Are the Symptoms?
Feet are the often the first place to show such diabetes related symptoms. This is why it is so important to pay attention to any such changes in your feet if you have diabetes.
- Cold feet,
- Sharp pains in your leg after walking,
- Pins and needles in your feet,
- Sudden changes in the shape of your foot,
- Changes in the colour of your feet,
- Skin and nail changes such as corns and calluses.
What Can You Do for Your Feet?
- Make sure your clean and dry your feet very well, including between toes;
- Moisturise your feet every day;
- Check your feet daily, including under feet and between toes, for wounds or changes. Use a mirror or loved one if you find it difficult to see yourself;
- Keep toenails trimmed straight across filing sharp edges;
- See your podiatrist regularly;
- Keep your blood glucose levels in your target range;
- Keep physically active and enjoy a healthy diet;
- Avoid smoking.
What Can Your Podiatrist Do?
Podiatrists have a range of skills when it comes to assessing and managing diabetes foot health. Some of the common treatments we regularly provide to our clients at ProMed for people with diabetes include:
- Provide skin and nail care – including callus, corns, thick toenails, ingrown toenails, fungal nails, dry skin, flaking, splits and plantar warts.
- Provide education specific to you and your feet in preventing and managing complications of diabetes.
- Assess and manage foot pain – including musculoskeletal assessment, gait assessment, massage, electrotherapies, orthoses, dry needling and mobilisation.
- Assess footwear and prescribe and advise on shoes – including over the counter footwear, medical grade footwear and custom-made footwear.
- Assess individual risk status. A diabetes foot assessment by a podiatrist or specially trained health practitioner is recommended for all people with diabetes to assess and monitor risk. At ProMed Podiatry Clinic this includes checking your pulses with Doppler, taking the blood pressure for your ankles and toes and testing the feeling in your feet. We also do a comprehensive medical and diabetes history which enables us to classify your risk status and provide information on preventing complications.
BOOK IN YOUR DIABETES ASSESSMENT DURING NOVEMBER TO RECEIVE A FREE NUTRITION CONSULTATION WITH KASEY, OUR RESIDENT QUALIFIED NUTRITIONIST.
Written by Sarah Youngson with information provided by the Australian Podiatry Association.