Diabetes can take many forms. The most common form is Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes is an endocrine disorder where the body struggles to break down glucose. Glucose exists in most foods (even if you think it is sugar free) because carbohydrates are just strands of glucose molecules joined together. Once ingested, the carbohydrate breaks down into glucose. Normally, your body moves the recently broken down glucose from your blood stream and puts it into storage for later use. It requires insulin to do so.
Depending on the type of Diabetes, no insulin may be produced, insulin production may be limited or the body doesn't respond as well to the insulin that is produced. All forms result in elevated blood sugars. Prolonged elevation of blood sugars can damage the blood vessels and the nerves. And the feet are at an increased risk of this. That is why, when you are diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will advise you to see a podiatrist.
We run through a thorough assessment to check the health of your feet and identify any potential issues. This gives us a base line so when we repeat the test, we know if any changes have occurred. We strongly recommend these tests are conducted every year as a minimum. We will write to your doctor and endocrinologist with the results so they are informed.
If you would like more information on what happens during one of these assessments, check out our Facebook or Instagram pages. There is heaps of information regarding diabetes posted the week of the 12th of July 2020 (Diabetes week!)
Regardless of the type of diabetes, the advice to care for your feet is the same. Here are some practical tips.
Tips for Caring for your feet
Know your feet well - wash, dry and check your feet every day. Check for redness, swelling, cuts, pus discharge, splinters or blisters, being especially careful to look between toes, around heels and nail edges and at the soles of the feet. If you have difficulty with your vision get someone to check for you
Cut your toenails straight across - not into the corners - and gently file any sharp edges. If youcan’t properly see or reach your feet to cut your toenails, visit a podiatrist
Moisturise your feet daily to avoid dry skin. Diabalm is a great cream and available at our clinic or on our online shop www.balwynpodiatry.com.au/shop Our patients love it.
Never use over-the-counter corn pads. They contain acid, which could damage healthy skin. If you have loss of sensation in your feet (Peripheral Neuropathy) you MUST avoid these
Have corns and callouses removed by a Podiatrist who uses sterilised instruments. Nail salons do not use sterile instruments which presents a risk of infection
Cover your feet with a clean sock or stocking without rough seams
Don’t wear tight socks or stockings. They can cut the blood supply off to your feet
Protect your feet in a shoe which fits well - the right length (a thumb width longer than your longest toe), width and depth - and has been checked for stones, pins, buttons or anything else which could cause damage
Keep your feet away from direct heat such as heaters, hot water bottles and do not use a hairdryer to dry your feet
If you find an injury including a cut, blister, sore, red area or open crack, immediately:
Wash and dry the area
Apply good antiseptic e.g. Betadine
Cover with a sterile dressing, available from pharmacies.
Seek urgent medical advice for even the mildest foot infection, including any sore, open wound or crack, which is oozing, contains pus or any type of discharge or which does not heal within a week.