Patients with diabetes may face a unique set of challenges which often require specialized care to prevent or recognize and treat. Foot screening to identify potential risk and implement preventive measures is of utmost importance. Research has shown that even just one regular podiatry visit can reduce the development of ulceration by 15 per cent and hospitalizations by 17 per cent in persons with diabetes.1 Successful management of diabetes related foot complications often requires a team approach involving a podiatrist, vascular specialist, endrocrinologist, infectious disease specialist, family doctor, and nurses.
From the initial screening and assessment to the treatment of complications, the doctors at Burrard Podiatry will guide your foot care.
Most diabetes related foot complications are predictable, preventable, and treatable. At Burrard Podiatry our foot care management is directed toward amputation prevention.
If you have diabetes don’t ignore your feet and have them checked regularly. If you have a foot problem such as a non-healing sore or ulcer do not delay treatment. Your feet can last a lifetime.
Some of the diabetes related services available at Burrard Podiatry include:
- Foot screening and risk assessment
- Preventive foot care including trimming of nails and calluses
- Regular foot check ups
- Treatment of sores, wounds or infections
- Charcot foot treatment
- Elective and emergency foot surgery
People with diabetes typically have 3 common fears:
- Loss of eyesight
- Loss of kidney function, and
- Loss of limb
According to the International Diabetes Federation if you have diabetes your foot fears are justified. Worldwide, every 30 seconds a leg is lost to diabetes, 50 per cent of those who lose a leg to diabetes lose the other leg within three to five years, and up to 50 per cent of those who lose a leg to diabetes die within three years of the amputation. 85 per cent of leg amputations are preceded by a foot wound or sore, known as an ulcer.
The statistics are not encouraging, but if you have diabetes there are several things you can do to improve your odds. Most importantly, if you have diabetes you need to know your risk for potential foot problems. At Burrard Podiatry we screen patients with diabetes for foot risk.
Individuals with diabetes have high blood sugars. High blood sugars can affect individuals with diabetes in different ways. In some people the high blood sugars can result in risk of foot complication and, or amputation.
One significant risk factor for potential foot problems is peripheral neuropathy, or loss of feeling in the feet, which in most cases, is caused by high blood sugars. Up to 60 per cent of people with diabetes will have feeling loss in their feet after 20 years of diabetes. Feeling loss may be silent and go unnoticed whereas for others feeling loss can be very painful.
The nerves to the feet are like a home security system for the feet. Peripheral neuropathy is like a broken alarm system. Feet without feeling, or neuropathy, are prone to undetected injury that can result in sores and infections, which can lead to amputation. Foot screening can test for feeling loss. If you have feeling loss, your risk for foot complications is increased. The nerves to the feet are not repairable, but the risk for foot complications can be reduced with preventive foot care.
If you have diabetes and foot complications, such as a non-healing sore or wound, you need to get immediate treatment directed towards timely healing and amputation prevention.
The good news is that research has shown that treatment and regular preventive foot care goes a long way toward lowering the risk for foot complications and preventing amputations.
If you have diabetes don’t ignore your feet and foot care. Get your feet checked regularly. If you have a foot problem such as a non-healing sore or ulcer do not delay treatment. Your feet can last a lifetime.
1Carls, Ginger S., PhD, et al. “The Economic Value of Specialized Lower-Extremity Medical Care by Podiatric Physicians in the Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcers.” Journal of American Podiatric Medical Association 101.(2) (2011): 93-115. Print.