Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is the inability to manufacture or properly use insulin, and it impairs the body’s ability to convert sugars, starches, and other foods into energy. The long-term effects of elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can lead to serious damage to the eyes, heart, kidney, nerves, and feet. Approximately 1 million Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes including an estimated 130,000 people with type 1 diabetes.

While there is no cure for diabetes, there is hope. With proper diet, exercise, medical care, and careful management at home, a person with diabetes can avoid the most serious complications and enjoy a full and active life. Today’s podiatrist plays a key role in helping patients manage diabetes successfully and avoid foot-related complications.

Symptoms

Diabetes warning signs involving the feet and ankles include the following:

  • Skin colour changes.
  • Swelling of the foot or ankle.
  • Numbness in the feet or toes.
  • Pain in the legs.
  • Open sores on the feet that are slow to heal.
  • Ingrown and fungal toenails.
  • Bleeding corns and calluses.
  • Dry cracks in the skin, especially around the heel.

Visit a Podiatrist

Because diabetes is a disease affecting many parts of the body, successful management requires a team approach. Today’s podiatrist is an integral part of the treatment team and has documented success in preventing amputations:

  • More than 4,400 amputations are performed in Australian hospitals every year due to complications from diabetes.
  • After an amputation, the chance of another amputation within three to five years is as high as 50 percent.
  • Including a podiatrist in your diabetes care can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation by up to 85 percent and lowers the risk of hospitalization by 24 percent.

The keys to amputation prevention are early recognition and regular foot screenings performed by a podiatrist, the foot and ankle expert.

Take Action

If you have diabetes, follow these foot care tips:

  • Inspect feet daily – Check your feet and toes every day for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discolouration.
  • Wear thick, soft socks. Avoid socks with seams, which could rub and cause blisters or other skin injuries.
  • Exercise – Walking can keep weight down and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising.
  • Have new shoes properly measured and fitted. Foot size and shape may change over time. Shoes that fit properly are important to those with diabetes.
  • Don’t go barefoot. Don’t go without shoes, even in your own home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great for those with diabetes.
  • Never try to remove calluses, corns, or warts by yourself. Over-the-counter products can burn the skin and cause irreparable damage to the foot for people with diabetes.
  • Regular checkups by a podiatrist, at least annually, are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy. Call Russel Rubin and Trevor Proskewitz our experienced podiatrists.

Thongs (Flip Flops) and Feet

Thongs are often a popular choice of footwear for many people. Thongs allow your feet to air and give your toes the freedom of movement. They are easy to slip on and can be worn with virtually any style of clothing. Thongs, however, despite their many benefits, can be detrimental for your foot health.

Despite their comfortableness, frequently wearing thongs can create problems in the lower body over time. Issues mainly stem from the fact that people walk differently in thongs compared to other footwear, such as sneakers. This is due to a change in one’s natural gait, which therefore creates stress in different parts of the body while hindering the body’s natural posture. Problems can also arise in the arches and balls of the feet as thongs provide little to no support to these areas.

Aside from long-term problems, thongs can also create short-term issues as well, such as ankle sprains and blisters. Weak materials that are flexible and bendable are generally used to manufacture thongs. These materials make its wearers prone to both tripping and injuring their ankles. Thongs can create blisters as the material rubs against the foot. People are much more at risk for infection while wearing thongs due to their openness. This also makes it easier to scrape and cut the foot since there is a lack of protection. If these cuts are left untreated and uncovered, the risk then becomes greater.

To prevent the aforementioned occurrences, purchase a pair of thongs that offer significant protection. The soles of the thongs should not be floppy, but sturdy and firm, and should not significantly bend or wiggle when lifted from the floor. Thongs made of high-quality materials will not be affected by this problem. While higher quality thongs may be more expensive, they will last longer and provide better protection compared to a cheaper pair. Brand name thongs sold from a quality manufacturer are a dependable option.

There is no problem in wearing your favourite pair of thongs so as long as you do not wear them daily or for extended periods of time. Thongs should be replaced every 3-4 months to ensure that they provide your feet with the best protection.

Come see us for your diabetic podiatry review. Keeping your feet in the best condition.
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