Diabetes can be a discouraging diagnosis. Many people have friends or family who are diabetic have seen or heard the horror stories of painful feet, wounds, or even infections that lead to partial or total amputations of the feet.
Not every diabetic is destined to have these problems. Daily inspection of your feet at home as well as routine diabetic foot checks by a podiatrist can go a long way in preventing diabetic foot problems.
Conditions related to diabetes that occur in the feet can include poor blood flow, decreased sensation from damage to nerves, skin conditions like sore cracked skin and pressure sores, athletes foot, toenail fungus, and deformities of muscle and bone. A podiatrist can identify a problem before it is too late, especially foot numbness called neuropathy that can lead to sores and infection from inability to tell when a sore or blister has begun to form.
Services provided by podiatrists for diabetics include:
- Routine nail and callous trimming
- Fitting and dispensing of diabetic shoes and insoles which have been shown to reduce the risk of ulceration and eventual need for amputation
- Wound care, if required
- Evaluation and treatment of diabetes related foot pain and blood flow issues, as well as many other foot conditions.
The frequency of visits to your podiatrist for routine checkups can be as often as every few months or once a year based on your diabetic symptoms. Even though the diagnosis of diabetes can be a stressful experience, frequent visits to your podiatrist and your diabetes physician (endocrinologist) can keep you living a healthy, happy life without complications.