Taking proper care of your feet is one of the most important precautionary steps people with diabetes can do for their long-term health. That’s why primary care physicians will often recommend patients who have diabetes to visit a podiatrist regularly. If you’re wondering what the correlation between diabetes and foot care is, we can help to understand the connection.
All diabetic patients should see a podiatrist, as a foot exam by your podiatrist can tell you if you are at risk for complications. In other words, every person with diabetes should pay careful attention to the areas of the body that diabetes can directly affect, including the heart (cardiovascular system), kidneys (renal system), eyes, and most commonly the feet. Therefore, it is recommended that every patient with diabetes have an annual checkup.
As far as the feet are concerned, people with diabetes can have severe, even life-threatening foot problems if left untreated. In other words, individuals with lifelong diabetes are at a higher risk for developing foot pain and discomfort.
The manifestation of foot ulcers and nerve pain is significantly higher among diabetics, greatly increasing their risk of undergoing amputation. This can happen due to the fact that diabetes can cause problems with the circulatory and nervous systems of the body. Essentially, diabetes can cause:
- Decreased foot blood flow (circulatory problems)
- Decreased infection fighting capability (weak immune system)
- Numbness of the feet
According to research, each year more than 65,000 lower limbs are amputated due to complications from diabetes. By including a podiatrist in your diabetes care regimen, you can reduce the risk of amputation by up to 85 percent.
Podiatrists play an integral role in amputation prevention by performing regular foot screenings, for early recognition of diabetes related changes. The earlier any complications are recognized, the better the outcome and treatment will be. During your annual exams, a podiatrist will look for the following diabetes warning signs:
- Dry cracks in the skin
- Ingrown and fungal toenails
- Numbness in the feet or toes
- Open sores on the feet that are slow to heal
- Swelling of the foot or ankle
- Pain in the legs
- Skin color changes
- Bleeding corns and calluses
Regularly visiting a podiatrist can help patients keep their foot conditions in check and maintain healthy sugar levels. A podiatry expert can offer them valuable advice about preventing foot complications by opting for comfortable and well-fitted footwear. These routine appointments also allow them to keep a tab on your foot health and catch symptoms early. With that said, having a podiatrist at your service, will reassure those with diabetes that they are in control of their health.
To learn more about why diabetics need to see their podiatrist on a consistent basis, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.