According to the American Diabetes Association, 5% to 10% of people with foot ulcers are diabetic. 50% of people with diabetes undergo non-traumatic limb amputation, and there is 39% to 80% mortality of people with diabetes.
Diabetes results from a lack of insulin in the body, or the body doesn’t use it as it should. Diabetes can lead to nerves or leg damage, which might affect blood flow to your feet. If you have diabetes, you should have a sore on your leg, checked out immediately.
So, how does a podiatrist help people with diabetes? You can check out these podiatry experts for all neuropathy solutions and advice.
What is a podiatrist?
If you have diabetes, you are more at risk of having feet and leg complications. The complications are a result of neuropathy or nerve damage.
When you have neuropathy in your feet, you lose your ability to feel pain. As such, an injury on the feet may not be unnoticed, which may turn into more significant problems.
A podiatrist is a medical specialist who deals with problems in your lower legs or feet. They also deal with leg complications arising from diabetes.
Podiatrists don’t attend the traditional medical schools. They attend special schools and have their professional associations.
What foot problems can diabetic people have?
- Foot ulcers: a foot ulcer is a wound that occurs on the foot or a leg. The ulcer can become more extensive and become infected, which complicates the treatment process. The ulcer can result from an injury from a shoe that doesn’t fit well or hurting your toe while walking. Treatment of foot ulcers is expensive and lengthy and can even lead to amputation.
- Amputation: if the ulcers grow big and there is no longer a possibility of repairing it, you may require an amputation.
- Nerve damage: diabetes can lead to neuropathy or nerve damage in your legs. When that happens, you lose the ability to feel pain. As such, you can get an injury and not notice it, which may lead to the wound growing and bringing complications.
- Charcot foot: nerve damage can also lead to the weakening of bones in the feet. The deterioration may result in deformities or fractures.
If you have diabetes, you can avoid foot problems by taking care of your feet and acting fast when you have an issue. You can have a podiatrist assess your feet to detect problems early to prevent complications.
How do you take care of your feet if you have diabetes?
- Buy appropriate shoes
The type of shoes you wear is vital for the overall health of your feet. Ensure the shoes you buy to fit your foot size and shape. It would be best if you also avoided shoes with an open toe as they put you at risk of hurting your toes.
- Daily foot care
If you suffer from neuropathy, you should take care of your feet daily to avoid complications. For instance, you should check out for any signs of infection, such as redness or swelling. Also, ensure that you moisturize your skin if it’s dry. Ensure that after cleaning your feet, you dry well in between the feet.
Your podiatrist should guide you on how to conduct a personal assessment at home to detect any problem. They will also advise you on what you should look out for.
- Checkout for any problems
After every six months, you should check for signs that you have a problem. For instance, look out for any abnormal foot structure or reduced sensation or circulation to the feet.
- Keep your toes trimmed
Long toes can lead to an injury on your feet. If you are walking barefoot, there is a possibility of knocking your toe, and the nail will break and injure you. If you have diabetes, you should ensure that you maintain short nails at all times. As you trim the nails, ensure you file the rough edges.
- Immediate treatment
If you get an injury on your feet or legs, have it treated immediately by a podiatrist. It would help if you also had calluses and corns treated. This prevents issues from growing more prominent, which may lead to amputations.
- Check the temperature
Having the right temperature for your legs is vital in taking care of your feet. Thus, you should always check the temperature of the water using your elbow before taking a bath. Having the right size of shoes also gives your feet enough space to breathe, and they don’t suffer from a lot of heat.
Podiatrists are trained professionals who are involved in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of foot problems. If you have diabetes, you are more at risk of suffering from neuropathy. Neuropathy may lead to other complications, including amputations. Podiatrists help in treating the issues in diabetic people to avoid complications.
Article by Dennis Hamming