A lot of my patients were referred by their family doctors to see a Podiatrist for a diabetes assessment and to get their feet checked. However, they did not really know what a Podiatrist could do with their diabetes, therefore, they often came to the clinic with a confused mind. Some of them missed their appointment as they thought it was not necessary or did not really know what to expect in the consultation.
If you are experiencing diabetes and having the same questions like most of my patients, this blog might be for you.
It is important for you to know how diabetes (i.e: high blood sugar levels) can affect your feet. Due to the fact that, long-term high blood sugar levels can irritate or even damage your nerve or blood vessels, therefore, in the later stage it may affect your circulation and also your sensation. Insufficient blood flow and limited protective sensation can affect the healing process, increase risk of infection and may lead to amputation.
As a Podiatrist, we can help to check your circulation and sensation on your feet during the consultation. This includes using our instrument to listen to your pulses. It will be similar to what your doctor does to your heart, we instead listen to your feet. We are also able to check your sensation to make sure you have enough protective sensation to protect yourself from any risk of injury.
Regarding assessing your circulation, we will use an instrument called Doppler Ultrasound. It uses sound waves to detect blood flow and identify any differences in blood pressure within different areas. It is a simple painless, non-invasive procedure where a probe is held over an artery, the ultrasound bounces off the arterial blood flow allowing us to determine any reduced blood flow of blockages.
As I mentioned before, diabetes can cause nerve damage (neuropathy). Losing feeling in your feet means that you may not notice a cut, blister, corn, callus or other foot problem until it becomes serious. This can lead to complications such as infections, ulcers and even gangrene, which may lead to amputation. We will use the two instruments – Monofilament and 128hz Tuning Fork during a neurological diabetes assessment. We will check on both of your feet and ankle to make sure you are able to feel all different areas.
To sum up, during a diabetic foot assessment, we can help:
- Checking the blood flow to your feet and toes
- Conducting nerve checks to determine your ability to feel pressure, touch and temperature
- Assessing your muscle strength and control – exercises can be provided to strengthen your muscles
- Assessing your skin conditions – calluses, corns, blisters, dryness, etc,….
- Assessing your footwear – footwear will be recommended if necessary to improve foot and ankle mobility and stability
Please don’t hesitate to pop any questions under the comment section. You can also give us a call through our phone number (03) 9711 7562 or Book Online | The Footcare Clinic.