If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, there is a high chance that you’ve been referred to see a podiatrist. You might be wondering why do you need to see a doctor that specializes in feet? Well today, we’re going to tell you why diabetes, podiatrists and your feet are closely linked so follow on for Why Do You See a Podiatrist When You Have Diabetes?
First up, what does it mean to have diabetes?
What is Diabetes?
When someone has diabetes it means that the level of blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is too high. Usually, these levels are too high because your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or use it properly. Insulin is a hormone that your pancreas produces, and it helps the glucose reach the cells of your body that use the glucose for energy.
When the sugar stays in the blood it can cause fatty deposits to form in the blood vessels which can impact how efficiently your body processes and circulates blood. And as your feet are the furthest part of the body from the heart, it can lead to a number of issues.
What does a Podiatrist Do?
A podiatrist is a doctor that specializes in the treatment of conditions like injuries, infections and structural problems that can affect your feet and lower limbs. These can include conditions that affect the skin, nails and bones of the feet.
A podiatrist can assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of issues, from common injuries to strange infections. And they can work closely with you and other health care professionals to ensure your feet are in the best condition possible.
What does a Podiatrist do When You have Diabetes?
As we mentioned before, your feet are the furthest part of the body from the heart, so when you have diabetes, if you’re not managing the condition properly, your feet can experience a number of complications.
As blood circulation can be greatly impacted by diabetes, your feet also tend to show signs of diabetes related problems before any other part of the body, which is why it’s important that they are monitored regularly by a podiatrist.
When a podiatrist assesses a diabetic person’s feet, they will be doing the following things:
1. Monitor Circulation Blood Flow
Blood flow is extremely important for the health of your body. Not only does it help to pass oxygen throughout your body but it also promotes healing. So, if you’re injured, or you have cuts or scratches, healthy blood flow can ensure that you heal properly.
Sometimes, when a diabetic has an injury such as a wound, there can be difficulties in it healing as their blood flow might not be as good as it could be. Which is why it’s important to track your blood flow with the help of a podiatrist.
As part of their assessment, they will assess your skin and check the strength of the pulse in your feet to see how much blood they are actually getting. It is usually quite easy for a podiatrist to tell whether the circulation of blood to your feet is healthy or not.
2. Assess the Sensation and Feeling in Your Feet
When someone has diabetes they also have an increased risk of nerve damage due to the high levels of sugar in their blood. Sugar can impact the myelin sheath, which is the protective layer that covers the nerve fibers. Sugar can actually cause the layer to break down which leaves the nerves exposed.
When the nerves are exposed, they can become desensitized, which can lead to a loss of feeling in the feet (and other areas). This means that you can potentially become injured without realizing the extent of the problem as you might not feel it in the same way you would if your nerves were as normal.
Your podiatrist will run a few tests to see how well you can feel in your feet and offer advice as to how to care for your feet to ensure you can avoid accidental damage.
3. Monitor Skin and Nail Condition
When you don’t have sufficient blood flow in the body your skin can be greatly affected. It can look dull, and become sensitive and fragile, increasing the chances of wounds and infections occurring.
A podiatrist will carefully monitor the condition of your skin and keep track of any changes. The skin is probably the biggest giveaway to any problems with your feet or body.
If you do have a skin condition that has developed as a result of diabetes, your podiatrist will be able to help treat and manage this condition.
See Your Podiatrist Today
Now you can see why a podiatrist’s job is so important for someone with diabetes. If you need a diabetic foot assessment Melbourne, then visit the team at Watsonia Podiatry. They are experts in all things feet, especially when it comes to helping manage diabetes. Don’t forget to care for your feet today!