Diabetes Health: Why you need to see a podiatrist regularly
December 21, 2017
Every 20 seconds a limb is lost to diabetes. When you have diabetes you are more at risk of having foot problems and complications. This typically happens due to nerve damage, or neuropathy, in the feet and toes.
When you have nerve damage in your feet, over time you lose the ability to feel pain. When this happens an injury, or a small cut or wound on your foot or toes can go unnoticed. These small injuries can quickly turn into larger and more complicated problems like foot ulcers.
This is where podiatrists can help. Podiatrists are foot doctors who can help you protect and take care of your feet.
How does a podiatrist help people with diabetes?
A podiatrist is an important part of your diabetes health care team. Podiatrists are specifically trained to assess the nerve damage in your feet, identify your specific foot health risks, and help you come up with a treatment and prevention plan. Diabetes can impact your feet in a number of ways, and podiatrists help address those issues.
What foot problems can people with diabetes have?
If you have diabetes there are a number of foot problems you may experience including:
- Nerve Damage - You may experience neuropathy (nerve damage) this can cause pain and numbness in your feet. Eventually, this can cause more serious problems, including the loss of feeling in your feet and toes. When this happens an injury like a cut can go unnoticed.
- Foot Ulcers - A foot ulcer is a wound that can occur on the foot and/or toes. The tissue on a part of the foot breaks down to create an open wound. These ulcers can grow larger and easily become infected. Treatment is lengthy and expensive. If not properly treated or cared for they may require amputation.
- Charcot Foot - When you have nerve damage in your feet this can also cause weakening of the bones in your feet. When these bones weaken they can fracture and result in foot deformities.
- Amputations - When you get a foot ulcer or wound sometimes the damage cannot be repaired. When this happens, you may require an amputation.
These are only some of the foot problems that you may experience as a complication of diabetes. A podiatrist can help you determine your specific risk factors and what to look out for.
What should I talk about with my podiatrist?
When you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist be sure to go prepared with information on your medical history, as well as, a list of questions or concerns. Some things you may want to discuss with your doctor include:
- Neuropathy: If you experience the symptoms of neuropathy, ask for a monofilament test or comprehensive testing for nerve damage. This will help you understand if you have nerve damage, what you need to do to keep it from spreading, and the problems associated with nerve damage.
- Food Exams: Your podiatrist can show you how to conduct a foot exam at home, along with the things you need to look out for.
- Temperature Monitoring: Temperature monitoring is clinically proven to prevent foot ulcers and amputations by upwards of 87%. Talk to your doctor about how continuous temperature monitoring using Siren Diabetic Socks can be incorporated into your treatment plan. The benefit of Siren Diabetic Socks is that not only do they provide a physical layer of protection for your feet, but they alert you to the first signs of an injury with a connected app.
- Keeping your feet healthy: Talk with your podiatrist about what you can do each day to protect your feet.