Nearly one million Australians have diabetes. If you have diabetes it is important to know your foot health status.
Diabetes can affect the feet in two ways. It can damage the nerves, resulting in loss of feeling in the feet (peripheral neuropathy) and can reduce the blood flow to the feet (peripheral vascular disease).
Not everyone with diabetes will develop foot complications. Research has shown that the risk for developing these complications is greatly reduced with good blood sugar levels.
It is important to know whether diabetes has affected your feet, so that strategies can be put in place to help prevent serious problems that are caused by the complications.
There are simple, quick and scientifically reliable tests that will enable your podiatrist to tell whether you have developed the complications that put your feet at risk of serious problems.
Problems that can develop are ulceration (open sores on your feet,) infection and foot deformity. These can lead to the to the most feared result of amputation.
The steps you can take to help prevent foot problems in diabetes are:
- Work with your doctors, dietitions and diabetes educator to control your blood sugar levels
- Know your foot health status with regular testing by your podiatrist
- Have your existing foot problems, such as thick toenails and corns, treated by your podiatrist
- Keep an eye on your feet and seek help if you notice any breaks in the skin that do not heal