Diabetes Foot Problems
What it is and how it affects the feet.
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder which affects how the body deals with sugar, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. There are two main types: Type 1 diabetes which was formerly known as insulin dependent diabetes and Type 2 diabetes which was formerly known as non-insulin dependent diabetes. There is also pregnancy-induced diabetes known as gestational diabetes. Currently over 270000 New Zealanders have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
What is the function of insulin? Insulin is produced by the pancreas and if insulin doesn’t function properly the liver doesn’t know if there is too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. This results in the inability to store glucose correctly.
Type 1 diabetes involves a decreased production of insulin and is generally picked up at a young age. However some people don’t get diagnosed till later in life. It accounts for about 15% of cases of diabetes mellitus. Most patients are treated with insulin shots to compensate for the body’s poor production of insulin or the destruction of insulin.
Type 2 diabetes generally involves impairment in the effectiveness of insulin, the production of insulin by the pancreas or a resistance of the body to insulin. It makes up 80% of diabetes mellitus cases. Medication, diet and exercise are the best ways to treat type 2 diabetes and all three generally go hand in hand.
Risk factors: Obesity, family prevalence.
Long term complications: Blindness, kidney impairments, lower limb amputation, vascular disease and neuropathy.
What will The Podiatrist do for you?
We focus mostly on diabetics vascular and neuropathic (tingling, numbness) problems.
These are the two main elements that affect the diabetic foot. If diabetics do not control their blood glucose levels, it can cause them to develop neuropathy (inability to feel their feet). This can be a concern because patients then can’t feel with their feet as well – for example if they have a stone in their shoes or if their feet are too close to the heater.
Diabetics may also develop problems with the blood flow to their feet. This will cause reduced healing capacity. If cuts or wounds occur, they can become infected easily and rapidly transform into ulcers. These can result in amputations if not treated properly.
Therefore, the most important considerations with diabetes are keeping active and ensuring good nutrition.
It is also absolutely critical that diabetics check their feet every day.
At The Podiatrist we can help you learn what to look for and how to care for your feet. We will also make sure that you are comfortable on your feet so you can be active. We are here to support and assist you. We will make sure that your toe nails are cut correctly, corns and callus are removed and generally make sure that you dont have to suffer with any unnecessary foot complications.
The Podiatrist works with many doctors and Primary Health Organisations in assessing and treating diabetic feet. We are skilled and experienced with the problems diabetes can cause. So if you have any concerns or need guidance – give The Podiatrist a call. We are here to help you.
Treatment we provide for diabetes and foot care
- Vascular problems
- Palliative care (cutting nails and removing corns and calluses)
- Proper footwear
- Monitoring your diabetes so you stay one step ahead
- Keeping you active and comfortable
- Provide quality diabetes education to increase awareness
Who do we work with?
- Podiatric surgeons