Diabetes Foot Care in Canberra
Type I and II diabetes is a complex condition that affects the whole body – even your feet. It’s a result of uncontrolled glucose levels circulating in the blood from low or insufficient amounts of insulin, which normally converts glucose into energy. Having diabetes and/or other chronic illnesses increases the risk of foot complications which include:
Reduced circulation (blood flow) from narrowing and hardening of artery walls. Cuts and wounds take longer to heal with decreased blood flow
Impaired nerve sensation (ability to feel). Not being able to detect feeling under the foot can lead to more damage before treatment is sought
Stiffening of the joints
Impaired nail and skin health
Decreased muscle strength
These complications can put the feet at higher risk of developing bacterial and fungal infections, foot ulcers, and amputations. Podiatrists can help to reduce the risk of these complications occurring by first identifying potential risk factors with a foot risk assessment.
How often should a diabetes foot risk assessment be performed?
More frequent assessments are required for feet that are more at risk. If the feet are assessed as having a high risk of complications, it is best to have podiatry appointments at least 3 monthly.
Some clients choose to attend more often for skin and nail treatment.
Clients that can manage their own foot care, have no foot pain and have a low foot risk will require 12 monthly assessments.
Podiatrists can help to reduce the risk of complications by first identifying potential risk factors with a foot risk assessment.
What happens during a diabetes foot risk assessment?
Typical symptoms of nerve damage and poor circulation are queried
A visual check for skin, toenail and circulatory conditions
Foot reflexes, deep nerves and sensory nerve function are assessed
Foot pulses are checked, arterial flow is evaluated with ultrasound and arterial circulation is quantified with ankle brachial index equipment. Toe pressure analysis is available for improved validity
Joint range of motion, walking posture and foot shape are evaluated to calculate a foot deformity score
The regular shoes and socks are assessed for appropriate support and fit
The results of the above assessments are discussed. Further biomechanical analysis may be required at follow-up appointments
What you need to do at home to prevent disease related foot complications
All clients attending with a referral form from their GP will have the results of the assessment sent to their doctor’s medical practice. Additional reports can be forwarded to other specialists as requested
How can a podiatrist help someone with diabetes and other chronic illnesses:
Perform a diabetes foot risk assessment to determine what ongoing care is required based upon your risk classification and personal situation
Diagnose foot conditions associated with diabetes and other chronic illnesses
Ongoing skin and toenail treatment to prevent pressure related wounds
Orthotic therapy for certain types of foot pain and pressure redistribution
Education regarding self care, footwear and overall diabetes management
Correspond and collaborate with your GP, diabetes educator and other health professionals to ensure the safe and effective management of your type I or II diabetes