Podiatry for Diabetic Foot
The treatment of diabetic foot by a Podiatrist, is a crucial aspect of managing foot complications in individuals with diabetes. All patients with diabetes should have their feet checked at least once per year by a trained healthcare professional. Diabetes is a lifelong condition which can cause life-and-limb-threatening problems. Some of these problems can occur because the nerves and blood vessels, including those supplying your legs and feet, are damaged. This can change:
- the feeling in your feet (peripheral neuropathy); and
- the circulation in your feet (ischaemia).
These changes can be very gradual and you may not notice them.
You should check your feet every day for any blisters, breaks in the skin, pain or any signs of infection such as swelling, heat or redness. If you cannot do this yourself, ask your partner or carer to help you. These issues can make the feet more vulnerable to infections, ulcers, and other complications. A Podiatrist specialises in diagnosing, treating, and preventing foot-related conditions, including those arising from diabetes.
Here are some common aspects of diabetic foot treatment that a Podiatrist may be involved in:
Regular foot assessments are essential for individuals with diabetes. The frequency of visits is dependent on your foot health risk for diabetic foot ulcers. A Podiatrist will perform a thorough examination to identify any changes, wounds, ulcers, or abnormalities in the feet. This helps in detecting issues early and preventing complications.
Diabetes-related nerve damage can lead to loss of sensation in the feet. A Podiatrist can educate patients on proper foot care techniques and the importance of inspecting their feet daily. They may recommend protective measures like wearing appropriate footwear to prevent injuries.
Podiatrists are skilled in treating diabetic foot ulcers and wounds. They can clean and dress wounds, manage infections, and ensure that wounds are healing properly. They may also use advanced wound care techniques to promote healing.
High-pressure areas on the feet can lead to calluses, corns, and ulcers. Podiatrists can recommend custom orthotic devices, shoe inserts, or footwear modifications to redistribute pressure and reduce the risk of complications.
Proper footwear is crucial for individuals with diabetes to prevent injuries and promote foot health. Podiatrists can provide recommendations for suitable shoes that accommodate any foot deformities or conditions while ensuring proper support and cushioning.
Diabetic Foot Ulcer Treatment
If a diabetic foot ulcer develops, Podiatrists can provide specialised wound care to promote healing, prevent infection, and avoid complications. They may work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, such as endocrinologists, orthopedics, microbiology and vascular surgeons.
Infections in the feet can become serious due to compromised blood circulation and weakened immune responses in people with diabetes. Podiatrists can diagnose and treat infections promptly to prevent them from spreading and causing more significant health issues.
Podiatrists play a vital role in educating individuals with diabetes about the importance of proper foot care, hygiene, self-monitoring.and recognising warning signs of foot complications.
It is important to note that the treatment approach will vary based on the severity of the individual’s diabetes, medical history and associated foot issues. Podiatrists work in collaboration with other healthcare professionals, such as endocrinologists, vascular surgeons, and wound care specialists, to ensure comprehensive and effective care for diabetic foot conditions. Regular appointments with a Podiatrist and adherence to their recommendations can significantly reduce the risk of diabetic foot complications and loss of lower limb.