Diabetic foot care, Geelong
Diabetes causes complication in circulation and nerves. As feet are furthest away from the brain and heart that control these systems, diabetic foot care is important in maintaining the healthy function of feet and lower limbs. Leo Veanes is a specialist diabetes podiatrist in Geelong, with more than 30 years’ experience treating clients with diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is when the blood glucose levels, or sugars, in the blood are too high. This high level of glucose can cause complications in a variety of organs including heart, kidneys, eyes, circulation and nerve supply. More than one million people in Australia are diabetic.
What causes diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to help control sugar levels. This usually affects younger patients and insulin injections are needed to control blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type affecting 85 per cent of diabetics. Commonly seen in adults 40 years and older, who have a family history of diabetes and have been in poor health, especially those who are overweight.
Diabetes increases stresses on the feet. It causes damage to the nerve system (peripheral neuropathy) and circulation supply (peripheral vascular disease). Combined with the effects of gravity, this can lead to a variety of foot problems, including:
- Cold feet
- Poor healing of simple wounds
- Gangrene of the feet
Diabetic foot care
Treatment involves controlling your diabetes with your doctor and possibly dietitian. As podiatrists we look at the foot health, including:
- Assessing circulation
Poor circulation lowers the ability to fight bacteria and infection. Poor wound healing and ulceration can occur.
Assessing the circulation can be done with a vascular scope to assess the blood flow in the arteries and capillaries. Understanding circulation of the feet helps the podiatrist and patient to prevent further problems.
- Assessing nerve supply
Nerve damage lowers the feeling in the feet, so warning signs of pain and discomfort are not felt. These warning signs make us seek attention so there is less chance of damage to the skin and potential complications, infection and circulation.
- Assessing skin
Skin tone is an indication of circulation. Any foot calluses are noted and treated. These areas are pressure friction and should be treated. They are the most likely area of skin breakdown.
- Pressure points
Pressure points should be monitored, as these areas are of highest risk of tissue breakdown. A 3D pressure force plate or gait scan can show areas of pressure. A copy can be given to you and your doctor. Custom orthotics and insoles designed to protect these areas are very important to help immediate problems and reduce the chance of further complications.
Routine 6-month to 12-month check ups are suggested unless other treatments are needed at more frequent intervals.
Please contact our diabetes podiatrist in Geelong for more information on treatments and diabetic foot care. You can also take a look at our podiatry clinic news to find out about the latest advancements in foot care.