Diabetes Foot Care
People with diabetes and other chronic illnesses are at an increased risk of foot problems such as poor circulation, pain, ulcers and amputation. Fortunately, podiatrists and other health professionals can help reduce this increased risk. A foot risk assessment is recommended to establish the risk of foot complications
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
-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
What happens during a diabetes foot risk assessment?
1. History taking
Typical symptoms of nerve damage and poor circulation are queried
A visual check for skin, toenail and circulatory conditions
3. Nerve function
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
9. Report to the GP
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
Foot pulses are checked
Sensory nerve function test
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.