Having diabetes means you and your doctors must carefully monitor your health. It’s important to have regular podiatrist appointments as well as appointments with your primary care doctor. Learn the reasons why.
Before you had diabetes, you may not have visited a podiatrist very often. Having diabetes involves changes to your routines. You self-monitor daily, and there may be more frequent conversations with your primary care doctor.
In addition, care for your feet becomes very important. Your podiatrist should play a key role on your health care team.
Our board-certified podiatrists with Platte River Foot & Ankle Surgeons throughout Nebraska care for many patients with diabetes. Our team explains why regular foot care prevents complications from diabetes.
The impact of peripheral neuropathy
Having diabetes means control of your blood sugar levels is critical to your health. High blood sugar levels over a period of time can damage the blood vessels that extend to nerves throughout your body.
Your blood vessels carry important nutrients to your nerves. When they don’t receive the nutrition they need, the nerves can atrophy. Your vascular system is compromised. Parts of your feet and/or hands may feel numb, weak, and/or painful.
If this occurs, you have peripheral neuropathy. Up to half of people with diabetes have some peripheral neuropathy.
If a part of your foot becomes numb, you might not be able to feel a small cut or abrasion that could lead to an infection. Plus, because your blood vessels are damaged, nutrients can’t reach the wound to help heal it. Then it can become a dangerous situation. This is what can lead to a foot ulcer, which is hard to heal.
If no healing takes place, gangrene sets in and can lead to amputation. More than 100,000 amputations are done every year as a result of diabetes complications.
Screening for peripheral neuropathy
If you have Type 2 diabetes, you should have been screened for diabetic neuropathy right after your diagnosis. If you have Type 1 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends screening five years after diagnosis. You should be screened once a year going forward with either type.
However, if you have high blood pressure or if your blood sugar level is hard to control, your podiatrist should check your feet every 3-6 months.
The role of your podiatrist when you have diabetes
Complications from diabetes can start in your feet. You may not realize the symptoms. Regular checks can spot issues early so they don’t advance to a more serious problem.
Your podiatrist explains how you should take care of your feet when you have diabetes. You need to wash your feet daily with warm water and soap and keep your feet moisturized to protect against cracks.
Your podiatrist notes the importance of taking a few minutes to examine your feet every day. You can check for corns, calluses, cuts, cracks, skin discoloration or any other changes such as swelling. You can use a mirror to see the bottom of your feet.
If you see any of these or other changes, call our office so we can examine your feet.
We recommend diabetic socks and perhaps diabetic shoes to ensure proper circulation and to provide your feet with proper cushioning to protect against cuts and cracks.
We take care of cuts, cracks, and all other foot problems that can turn into diabetic foot ulcers if not promptly treated.
Call, text, or request an appointment through our online portal today for your diabetic foot checkup.