Diabetic Foot Assessment
Diabetes is a chronic disease where insulin is no longer produced or no longer produced in sufficient quantities, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels.
This can cause a number of complications in the feet. Damage to the small nerve endings can lead to neuropathy which causes a loss of sensation in the feet so you may be unable to detect injury. You may also experience numbness, tingling or a burning sensation in the feet. Diabetes can also be associated with a reduction in the blood supply to the feet which can cause cramps in the legs. This will delay healing and make people with diabetes more prone to infection following any cut or wounds in the skin.
Podiatry is vital in the management of diabetic foot health and prevention of complications such as ulceration, gangrene and amputation.
Vascular and Neurological assessment is recommended every 6-12 months for early detection of poor circulation and sensation in the feet.
Small wounds from poor nail cutting techniques, reduced eyesight and inability to reach one’s feet can also have serious ramifications, and therefore foot care is best done by a skilled Podiatrist.
Other issues which require ongoing assessment include:
- Nail and skin pathology
- HbA1c monitoring (blood sugar level control)
If you suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetes (insulin-resistance), ask your GP if you are eligible to receive Medicare funded Podiatry visits under the EPC scheme. Podiatry can help preserve the health of your feet, to keep you living an active and healthy life.
To prevent diabetic foot problems people with diabetes should:
- Protect their feet from injury
- Inspect their feet daily
- Understand foot care and infection prevention
- Footwear knowledge e.g. adequate shoe style and fit for their feet
- See a podiatrist immediately if something is not healing or doesn’t look right
- Have an annual diabetes foot assessment with a podiatrist to determine if their feet are at risk
National Diabetes Health Care Guidelines recommend people with diabetes have their feet checked by a podiatrist at least every 12 months