‘Diabetes Australia recommends that those with diabetes visit a podiatrist at least once a year. Is that really necessary?
In short, yes! The reason they make this recommendation is that diabetes can heighten your risk of developing a range of foot related conditions. It is common for people with diabetes to have reduced sensation in the skin on their feet. This means that they are not so sensitive to the pain that is the usual indicator that something is wrong. As a result, if they do not have regular check-ups, they may not realise the seriousness of a foot condition until too late.
At your annual visit, your podiatrist will assess the level of sensation in your feet and the amount of blood circulation in the area. This information can be forwarded to your GP or specialist to help them manage your condition.
Your podiatrist will also undertake actions necessary for the prevention / early intervention of skin conditions such as corns, calluses and cracked heels as well as nail conditions such as ingrown nails and fungal nail.
As well as your regular check-ups here are a few tips to keep your feet safe and healthy when you lack sensitivity in your feet:
- Examine your feet daily to see if there is anything that looks sore or injured
- Check the temperature of shower or bath water with your hands
- Use your hands to check if there are small stones or other items in your shoes before you put them on your feet
- Don’t walk barefoot, even in the house just in case you stand on something sharp or hot
- Always wear socks with shoes but make sure your socks are not too tight at the ankle
- Do not try to deal with corns, calluses or cracked heels yourself
- Use moisturiser on your feet if your skin is dry but don’t put it between your toes
- When you cut your toe nails, follow the shape of your toe. Don’t cut your nails too short and don’t cut down the sides of the nail.