Call Us: 1300 975 980

Why is podiatry important in diabetes?

Why is podiatry important in diabetes?

Why is podiatry important in diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes sugar often characterised by high blood sugar levels. Either the body does not produce enough insulin to store sugar as energy or the body resists the effects of insulin.

There are two main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes, also called Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus usually occurs in people under 30 years of age, but can occur at any age. In type 1 the insulin producing cells of the pancreas (beta cells) have been destroyed leaving no insulin available to help the glucose enter the body’s cells resulting in no energy and excessively high blood glucose levels. Represents 10-15% with diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, also called Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM). The beta cells of the pancreas are still producing insulin but it is ineffective in removing glucose from the blood stream. Usually occurs in people over 40 years of age, inactive, family history of diabetes and being overweight. About 85 to 90% of people have diabetes.

All types of diabetes are associated with high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. The clinical term for this is hyperglycaemia which leads to health problems

The two main health problems that can arise from hyperglycaemia are decreased blood supply and peripheral neuropathy.
Decreased blood supply and peripheral neuropathy may lead to leg ulcers, serious foot problems and limb amputation. It is estimated that amputation is 15 times more common in people who have diabetes than in people who do not.

Decreased Blood Supply

When blood sugar levels are poorly managed, the high levels of glucose causes inflammation of the blood vessels rendering them thicker and less flexible, also known as Atherosclerosis. As a result, it’s harder for the blood to flow through them. This is especially true of the smaller blood vessels that are so important for good circulation in the lower legs and feet. As an added concern, diabetics have a natural tendency toward higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Together, these problems put diabetics at a greater risk for Peripheral Vascular Disease.

Good blood supply is vital for adequate oxygen and nutrients to be carried throughout the body. This oxygen and nutrient supply is what allows our body to repair damaged tissue and fight against infection. Even the most minor cut or infection can be detrimental if blood supply is diminished.

↓ Decreased blood supply = ↑ Increased risk of infection

Peripheral Neuropathy

High levels of glucose are toxic to nerves resulting in nerve damage. Neuropathy in diabetics first affects the small nerve fibres in the feet resulting in tingling, itching, burning or shooting pain, loss of coordination, numbness or a complete lack of, sensation.

Neuropathy can affect the nerves that innervate:
• Sweat and sebaceous glands resulting in the loss of sweating and sebum causing the skin to be dry and prone to fissures
• Peripheral vessels leading to vascular rigidity and calcification resulting in decreased blood supply.

Peripheral neuropathy may also cause muscle weakness and loss of reflexes, especially at the ankle, leading to changes in the way a person walks. Foot deformities, such as hammertoes and the collapse of the midfoot, may occur. Blisters and sores may appear on numb areas of the foot because pressure or injury goes unnoticed. If an infection occurs and is not treated promptly, the infection may spread to the bone, and the foot may then have to be amputated. Many amputations are preventable if minor problems are caught and treated in time.

Why Visit a Podiatrist?

Diabetes Australia recommends visiting a podiatrist annually for a check-up or more frequently if your feet are at high risk.

At Mint Foot Care we perform comprehensive vascular (i.e. Ankle Brachial Pressure Index Doppler tests) and neurological assessments (i.e. monofilament, vibration tuning fork) to assess if blood vessels and nerves have been damaged by diabetes.

Our Podiatrists will provide necessary treatment at the time of the consultation for nail care and skin problems such as corns, calluses or ingrown toenails or ulcer debridement and in more advanced cases recommend customised orthotics to offload pressure areas.

We can recommend appropriate footwear and stock a large range of Dr Comfort Footwear suitable for diabetics.

A written report on your foot health can then be forwarded onto your General Practitioner or specialist Endocrinologist.

If you have diabetes or any other concerns regarding your feet call Mint Foot Care today on 1300 975 980 and book your consultation with one of our podiatrist’s.

Latest News

  • SKIN

    Sweaty, Smelly Feet

    Each foot contains 250,000 sweat glands. In one day, each foot can produce more than a 240ml of sweat! Sweat does not smell. It is the bacteria on our skin that feeds off our sweat, excreting waste which produces a strong odour. The main reason some peoples feet smell worse than others is that some people […]

    Date:6 October 2, 2018

    Fungal Nail Infections and Treatment Options

    Toenail fungus is more common than you would think. According to the Australian Podiatry Association, around 10% of the Australian adult population is affected by Onychomycosis (Tinea unguium) a common form of nail fungus, often found on the foot. These infections tend to remain in the nail if they are left untreated and can infect […]

    Date:6 September 16, 2018

    Holiday Closure

    We are taking a mini break. Hold tight we will be back on Wednesday 22 August 2018

    Date:6 August 9, 2018

    Cold vs Heat Therapy

    Cold vs heat therapy, which one is best for your injury? Cold therapy often called cryotherapy is the use of ice. Ice should be applied immediately after an injury has occurred. Ice will numb pain, reduce inflammation and bruising of the injured area due to vasoconstriction of the blood vessels. This is most effective when done within […]

    Date:6 June 5, 2018

    Lower Limb Injuries in Rugby League

    Rugby league is a high speed and quick change of direction game with high impact collisions. There is constant change in acceleration and deceleration, direction, pace with quick stops and starts. Due to the amount of body contact as well as high speeds of impact in tackles, injuries to the lower limbs account for over […]

    Date:6 March 18, 2018

    Do Your Shoes Pass the Healthy Shoe Checklist?

    Do Your Shoes Pass the Healthy Shoe Checklist? Footwear plays a key role in the development of foot and toe problems such as bunions, calluses, corns and plantar fasciitis. These conditions can be prevented or the progression reduced by wearing good fitting and supportive footwear. Since our feet come in all different shapes and sizes […]

    Date:6 November 22, 2017