Diabetic feet

Updated on 26 April 2023

Diabetic feet

A diabetic foot is a condition that makes diabetic patients very vulnerable to foot lesions and injury. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the onset of diabetic foot problems and treat diabetes foot pain. Here are the causes of diabetic foot, diabetic feet symptoms, and the solutions offered in podiatric clinics by chiropodists.

What is a diabetic foot?

Diabetic foot is a condition that occurs when the nerves and blood vessels of the foot are damaged by too much sugar in the blood. Blood circulation is altered, so wounds do not heal as quickly. Poor blood circulation prevents tissues from healing. A diabetic foot is, therefore, very susceptible to injuries, which can degenerate into ulcers and become infected. The situation is further complicated because an absence or significant decrease in the sensation in the foot prevents the patient from understanding the severity of a wound. In extreme cases, poor management of a diabetic foot can lead to amputation. 

Is this a common problem?

Diabetic foot is a common problem in people with diabetes who experience episodes of hyperglycemia. Overweight diabetics also suffer from diabetic foot problems. It is estimated that approximately 15% of diabetics are at risk of developing diabetic foot during their lifetime.

Different causes of diabetic foot

High or poorly controlled blood sugar levels in the blood are responsible for the malfunction of the nerves in the foot and leg. Diabetic foot pain can therefore be caused by a lesion in the skin of the foot that becomes infected, which the patient may not be aware of. Poor blood circulation can also affect the arteries, interfering with proper wound healing. It should be noted that factors such as smoking have a negative impact on arterial health, which can lead to diabetic feet. 

Who is most likely to be affected by diabetic foot?

People with diabetes with blood sugar levels that are difficult to control are at greater risk of developing diabetic feet. 

Symptoms of diabetic foot

Because of poor circulation, the diabetic foot may have drier than average skin. Cracks may appear, especially where the foot is under the most pressure (on the bottom and against the sides of the shoe, for example). Blisters or wounds that often become infected or develop into ulcers indicate an abnormality in the regenerative capacity of the tissue. Tissues may change colour and become darker in areas affected by neuropathy (nerve dysfunction). These visual symptoms are usually accompanied by insensitivity to cold, heat, and pain. A person with diabetic foot pain may feel tingling in the feet. In addition, the shape of the foot may be altered. The arch of the foot may collapse, creating a flat foot.  

The diagnosis of diabetic foot by chiropodists

For patients with diabetes, an annual visit with a chiropodist is recommended. During the podiatric exam, the healthcare professional will test the sensitivity of the patient’s foot and leg to determine the affected areas. This allows for the recording of changes or progression of the disease. A foot assessment will check for the need to treat skin and nail problems, such as calluses, warts, fungal infections or ingrown toenails.

Treatments offered by chiropodists to treat diabetic foot

A chiropodist can treat diabetes feet symptoms and prevent them from worsening. They can treat wounds that need to be bandaged for protection. If an infection occurs, the chiropodist can prescribe antibiotics to the patient. They can also treat nails and file them, if necessary, or cut an ingrown nail to prevent it from becoming infected. The chiropodist can also offer other types of diabetic foot care, including removing corns and calluses. Finally, if the patient’s gait is affected by diabetic foot problems, a chiropodist can help correct the patient’s posture with the help of foot orthotics. These will relieve pressure points and limit possible foot deformities. Orthotics also help limit friction that can cause skin lesions.   

Are there any contraindications to the various treatments?

To avoid interactions, the chiropodist should be made aware of a patient’s drug treatments. Any allergies should also be mentioned. 

Ways to prevent diabetic foot

o prevent diabetic foot, it is recommended to monitor your blood sugar level closely is recommended. A proper diet and exercise are essential to maintain a healthy weight. Regularly examine your feet to check for injuries or monitor the evolution of existing wounds. Diabetic foot care is also important and helps prevent complications. Washing your feet with soap daily and regularly cutting the nails helps keep them healthy. To stimulate poor blood circulation, you can opt to wear compression stockings. However, be careful to ask the chiropodist’s advice to avoid inappropriate socks. Finally, the patient can limit the risk of injury by wearing shoes or boots that protect the feet from injury.

Plan check-ups to keep your feet healthy

To maintain mobility and healthy feet, patients with diabetes are encouraged to schedule regular chiropodist visits. It can be challenging to care for your feet when neuropathy affects them. Chiropodists are fully qualified to support, advise and heal your diabetes feet symptoms. 

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