I Have Diabetes. Do I Need a Podiatrist?
As a podiatrist, one of the most common questions I am asked by patients is this – can a podiatrist help with my diabetes?
The answer is YES. Foot care is a crucial aspect of an overall treatment plan for patients diagnosed with diabetes.
It is important to know that diabetes can affect blood circulation in different ways. It is also important to know that high blood glucose can damage nerve endings throughout your body. For this reason, good blood glucose control is crucial to diabetes care.
Among diabetics, blood flow to the extremities is often poor. As a result, many patients suffering from diabetes also suffer from decreasing sensations in their lower extremities.
If you are diabetic, in addition to seeking professional medical help for managing your diabetes, it is vital that you also consult with a professional podiatrist.
A podiatrist will help keep your feet healthy and help you establish a regular foot care routine—an essential component of good diabetes management.
Why is it Important for People with Diabetes to Focus on Foot Care?
Many folks who have been diagnosed with diabetes are unaware of the importance of good foot health. They are surprised by the fact that meeting with a podiatrist is a routine aspect of diabetes management. But if you think about it, good foot healthcare for diabetes makes a lot of sense. Here’s why:
- The feet undergo a lot of stress and pressure from carrying your weight around every single day.
- That stress is compounded from wearing ill-fitting shoes that can restrict normal blood flow.
- If you are not particular about regularly trimming your toenails or are careless when trimming nails, you can easily scratch or cut yourself.
- Each of these cases can lead to the feet getting infected from a wound, and because healing is slower in diabetics, the risk of developing infections is much higher.
- If you already suffer from other foot conditions like athlete’s foot, or any other form of infection, being diabetic again increases your risk for the infections progressing and becoming more severe.
You can avoid all these unpleasant situations by ensuring stellar foot health – something that a podiatrist can help you with.
Health Risks of Ignoring Good Foot Care
Failure to maintain good foot healthcare could lead to a number of health risks. These include the following:
- Poor Circulation
Poor circulation can lead to swelling, cramping, and pain while walking. In addition to causing considerable discomfort, symptoms associated with poor circulation can affect your quality of life.
- Wounds Heal Slowly
One of the reasons why diabetes is considered so dangerous is because it impacts the immune system. Among diabetic patients, wounds, even small wounds or scratches take longer to heal. And as mentioned above, because healing is slow, even an insignificant cut could easily become infected and create problems.
Your feet are can sustain injuries via cracks, blisters and calluses, or scrapes – any of these could become persistent wounds which refuse to heal.
- Developing Serious Infections
In patients with poor diabetes management, even a minor wound, if left untreated can lead to a full-blown health emergency. You could develop septicemia (blood infection) or cellulitis. Worst-case scenario – you could develop gangrene.
You don’t have to suffer through any of these serious health risks by focusing on following a good foot care routine and by regularly consulting with a professional podiatrist.
Consult with Your Podiatrist
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, one of the first things you need to do is book a session with your podiatrist. Your podiatrist can help diagnose and treat leg and foot-related conditions/complications that are diabetic specific.
The second thing you must do is regularly visit your podiatrist, so they can assess the condition of your feet and rule out any health risks.