Patients who are diabetic, especially those who have been recently diagnosed as being diabetic, may sometimes question the value of having their feet examined by a podiatrist. To the patient, their feet feel fine and look fine. However, there are several conditions that your podiatrist can diagnose and set you on the right course to help prevent diabetic foot complications. Here are a few of the things that your podiatrist will be looking at when your feet are examined"
- Your circulatory status will be evaluated. This will include arterial circulation (blood getting down to the feet) and venous circulation (blood returning to the heart). Patients with circulatory problems often do not have symptoms. However, poor circulation severely inhibits the body's ability to heal wounds. Your podiatrist will be able to tell you if you are developing poor circulation in your feet and legs often before you are aware there is a problem.
- You will be screened to see if you have diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the nerves in the feet become damaged, and fail to work. In the case of sensory nerves, that means that you won't have the ability to sense pain. This puts you at a much greater risk of developing sores in your feet, since you may not be aware that there's a problem.
- Your skin will be examined thoroughly. As we age, it becomes more and more difficult to see the bottoms of our feet, the back of the heel, and in between toes. It is much easier for your podiatrist to detect potential problems for the simple fact that he can look at your feet up close.
- The structure of your feet will be evaluated. Any deformities may make you more susceptible to developing sores on your feet. For instance, if you have bunions or hammertoes , you will have parts of your feet that will receive excessive pressure from shoes. Your podiatrist can help to either provide proper padding to decrease pressure, recommend or provide provide proper shoes shoes, or in severe instances, recommend surgery to correct the deformity before it leads to further complications.
Your podiatrist will likely recommend that you be seen on a regular basis, depending on your risks, to make sure that you receive the best care possible. Patients who are at a higher risk for developing diabetic foot complications may need to be seen every month or two. Others may need only be evaluated on a yearly basis. Whatever your podiatrist recommends, follow his instructions carefully to make sure your feet stay as healthy as possible. Further information on diabetic foot care can be found by clicking here.