Diabetes and Podiatry – How is it Linked

Diabetes and Podiatry

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic illness in which the body’s blood glucose levels and the hormone insulin are out of balance. Increased thirst, increased frequency of passing urine, and exhaustion are some of the symptoms. There are two basic types:

  •       Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to generate enough insulin.
  •       Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body either does not create enough insulin or when the cells in the body no longer react to the insulin produced.

Blood sugar levels rise when the body is unable to manufacture or utilize insulin adequately (hyperglycemia). Hyperglycemia can cause damage to organs and tissue in the body, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, kidneys, and eyes, if it is persistent for a long time.

What is podiatry?

Podiatry is a medical field associated with study, diagnosis and treatment of foot, ankle, and lower extremity. Podiatrists are healthcare professionals trained to diagnose and treat abnormal feet and lower limbs conditions. The conditions may include toenail problems, fungal nail infections, corns and calluses, verrucas, athlete’s foot, dry and crack heels, smelly feet, flat heels, heel pain, bunions, gout, blisters, sports injuries and aging feet.

How is diabetes linked to podiatry?

Diabetic foot problems are widespread, and they cause more hospitalizations than any other diabetic condition. Foot ulcers are one of the most common conditions, and they’re often linked to neuropathy (nerve damage) and/or peripheral artery disease (poor circulation). Moreover, people with diabetes are more prone to infections which affect feet and can also make the foot joints stiffer.

A variety of foot problems arises when a person has poor podiatry which includes- damaged foot, foot ulcers, charcot’s joints, amputation, and foot infections.

Podiatrists play a key role in ulcer management, giving therapies such as wound debridement, dressing, and pressure relief, and it’s been estimated that up to 80% of amputations might be avoided with well-structured, high-quality care.

How can you prevent or manage podiatry?

Keeping your feet healthy requires managing your diabetes and living a healthy lifestyle. This should include the following:

1.      Routine medical check-ups, including foot checks and ABC tests at every visit (A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol)

2.      Checking your blood sugar levels on a daily basis

3.      Regular physical activity

4.      Consuming a well-balanced, fruit-and-vegetable-rich diet

 How to take care of diabetes podiatry?

1.      Inspect your feet:

Examine the tops, sides, soles, heels, and the area in between the toes of your foot and toes. Use a mirror or ask someone to assist you if you are physically unable to check your own feet. If you see any sores, redness, wounds, blisters, or bruising, call your doctor right away.

2.      Scrub your toes:

Every day, wash your feet with warm water with light soap. Your skin can be damaged by hot water and strong soaps. Before putting your feet in the water, check the temperature with your fingers or elbow. It may be difficult for you to feel the temperature of water with your feet if you have diabetes.

3.      Dry your feet:

Pat them dry and make sure they are completely dry. Infections thrive in damp environments, so make sure the region between your toes is completely dry.

4.      Use lotion or oil to moisturize dry skin on your feet if it feels harsh or dry. Between your toes, avoid using lotion.

What are signs and symptoms of diabetes podiatry?

The signs and symptoms of foot problems are:

1.      Burning, tingling or painful feet

2.      Changes in the colour or form of your feet

3.      lack of feeling to heat, cold, or contact

4.      hair loss in the toes, foot, and lower legs

5.      emergence of red patches, blisters, sores, ulcers, infected corns, or ingrown toenails thickness and yellowing of toes

What are complications associated with diabetes podiatry?

High blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage and circulation difficulties over time, as is well documented. Foot difficulties can be caused by or contributed to by these issues. Sores, ingrown toenails, and other conditions that go undiagnosed or untreated can lead to infection. Infections are difficult to heal when circulation is poor. As a result, it’s recommended to stay away from them if at all feasible.

Skin and tissue can decay and turn black if infections do not heal. This is referred to as gangrene. Surgery to amputate a toe, foot, or part of a leg may be required.

Thus, it becomes utmost important to recognise even minor changes in diabetes and requires consultation with health professionals. It is also important to note that diabetes related foot problems can worsen very quickly and are difficult to treat. Hence, it is recommended to seek medical attention if anything is prompted.

Podiatry & diabetes