The treatment of Diabetes is becoming an important area in Podiatry. Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by either an absolute or a relative deficiency of the pancreatic hormone, insulin and or insulin resistance. This loss of insulin function causes abnormal metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and protein and the patient develops: Hyperglycaemia and Glycosuria. Great care must be taken in the care of the feet with this condition.
So how does Diabetes affect feet?
One of the early changes in the feet is loss of sensation, which usually affects the toes first. This is known as peripheral neuropathy. This then can develop into painful neuropathy, which causes a painful burning sensation in the feet. In the latter stages when the nerves are affected it can develop into clawing of the toes, making the feet more susceptible to fractures and other conditions may develop.
How a Podiatrist can help
The Podiatrist will give the feet a complete check over, which will include: – correct cutting of the nails, removing all the corns and hard skin. This is because this could make the feet more susceptible to ulceration. In turn the feet can develop a loss of sensation which is difficult to detect by the individual. The Podiatrist will check the pulses, take a thorough medical history and check for loss of sensation. This will help the Podiatrist to class the Diabetes into a low, medium or a high risk category. Patients with high risk Diabetes are 30% more likely to develop foot ulceration, which can lead to gangrene and loss of limb or life. During this process the individual will be given information about Diabetes care, to act as a self help guide. It is important that to have a regular foot check at least once a year, but ideally on a more regular basis.