Podiatry For Diabetes in Brunswick & Sandringham
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body is unable to use it properly. This can result in elevated blood sugar levels which can result in complications for your feet.
There are two common forms of diabetes
Type one, known as insulin dependent diabetes usually affects children and young adults. If you suffer from this type of diabetes you will be familiar with daily insulin injections and you should pay close attention to your diet and exercise.
Type two, known as non insulin dependent diabetes is by far the most common condition and usually affects people over the age of 40years. It is controlled by diet, exercise and sometimes tablets.
The nerves in your feet and diabetes
Your feet have a multitude of nerves which act as a warning system. For example, if you have a stone in your shoe your nerves will normally send a message to your brain as a warning. However, if your diabetes is poorly controlled this can lead to nerve damage or ‘diabetic peripheral neuropathy’ which impairs sensation in your feet. If you suffer from nerve damage you may no longer notice a stone in your shoe due to the loss of sensation in your feet. This could lead to an injury which you cannot feel, and if left untreated lead to an infection.
Poor blood circulation and diabetes
Your feet are supplied with blood to keep them healthy. Blood brings energy to working muscles and helps to heal any tissue damage. When you have diabetes your blood supply can reduce which can lead to poor circulation in your feet. If you suffer from poor circulation, any injury or infection which you incur in your feet such as cuts, burns or scratches will take longer to heal due to reduced blood flow. If left untreated an infection can spread and lead to amputation of your foot. If you suffer from poor circulation you will need to take extra care to protect your feet from injury.
Foot ulcers and diabetes
Foot ulcers are often a common complication of diabetic feet. Ulcers can become a portal for infection to occur and are usually caused by excessive pressure on an area of skin which then becomes injured. Ulcers can occur under corns and callus and not be noticed. If your circulation is impaired, healing can take months and sometimes years to occur thus it is imperative that pressure is relieved from the injured site and appropriate wound dressings applied by a professional.
Stiff joints and diabetes
Diabetes can also make your joints (toes, ankles, knees) very stiff. This is often referred to as Charcot’s Joints.
How to avoid complications with diabetic feet
> maintain an acceptable blood sugar level
> check your feet daily
> don’t smoke
> exercise regularly
> avoid walking in bare feet
> keep your feet clean
> wear well fitted shoes
> trim and file your nails carefully
> have your corns, calluses and other foot problems treated by a podiatrist
> have an annual diabetes foot assessment with a podiatrist to determine if your feet are at risk.