Diabetes is a medical condition where the body is unable to process high levels of glucose (sugar) effectively. For our bodies to work properly we need to convert glucose from food into energy. A hormone called insulin is essential for the change of glucose into energy.
In people with diabetes, insulin is no longer produced or not produced enough by the body. Therefore when people with diabetes eat food, their bodies do not convert the glucose from food into energy, which results in elevated blood sugar levels.
There are two common types of diabetes:
- Type 1 – Commonly starts in children and young adults who usually require daily insulin injections
- Type 2 – The most common presentation that usually affects people over the age of 40 years
Diabetes can affect your feet in many ways. The main issues people will face with diabetes are:
- Poor circulation (peripheral vascular disease) – any injuries to the feet where the skin is broken usually result in longer healing times. This is due to less blood flowing to your feet.
- Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) – If nerve damage is present you may not be able to feel any damage occurring to your feet.
The most common presentation of diabetes foot complications are wounds that go unnoticed due to nerve damage or when healing is delayed due to poor circulation.
Our Podiatrists are skilled in performing routine diabetes foot assessments. Normally these assessments are conducted once every 12 months. This duration may be shorter depending on your risk status.
A standard diabetes foot assessment involves:
- Circulation assessment including the use of a hand held Doppler machine to assess the pulses in the foot
- Sensation testing for pressure sensitivity, vibration and reflexes to determine your level of sensation
- Assessment of general foot health including deformities, skin assessment and footwear checks
Some general foot care advice for people with diabetes is:
- Maintain regular Podiatry foot checks and assessments
- Maintain optimal blood sugar level control
- Regular exercise
- QUIT smoking
- Do not walk around barefoot
- Maintain good foot hygiene
- Ensure all footwear fits properly
- Seek professional advice from a Podiatrist, General Practitioner or Hospital if you are in doubt.
People with a chronic disease may be eligible for a Medicare rebate for the diabetes Podiatry care if a care plan is established through a GP. See Claims and Rebates.