Diabetes is a chronic disease due to a deficiency of the hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas.

There are two main types of diabetes; Type 1, which is genetic and Type 2, which is strongly associated with lifestyle factors usually occurring in adults.

Many may not recognise the number of complications that can occur if not properly controlled and monitored, with foot problems among the most serious. The disease requires continual attention from multiple health professionals and a high-level of self-care.

How does diabetes affect my feet and legs?

  1. Nerve damage:  Nerve Damage in the legs and feet, is also known as peripheral neuropathy and is one of the primary complications that result due to diabetes.

In up to 50% of diabetic patients over 60 years of age peripheral neuropathy is present; this may lead to the loss of your protective sensation and therefore increases the risk of physical and thermal trauma to the foot.

Problems most commonly arise at the toes, with the big toe the first to begin feeling ‘numb’ or ‘tingly’. This may then progress through the other toes and slowly up the leg.

Another common complaint is burning in the legs at night when trying to sleep; this is also a sign nerve damage may have occurred.

  1. Circulation: Diabetes can cause the blood vessels in the leg and foot to narrow and harden, which is never good.

Patients will of say their feet always feel cold, or it feels like they have socks on when they don’t. If this sounds familiar, having an assessment of the blood flow to your feet is vital and it’s just one of many tests we do at (Your Clinic Name)

Another sign of poor circulation is pain through the back of your leg when walking, particularly uphill. However, don’t let this discomfort stop you, as exercise is very important in helping to control diabetes.

Finally, having poor circulation decreases the body’s ability to fight and clear infection and delays healing times. Therefore, if coupled with nerve damage, serious complication such as ulcers may result.

What does this mean for diabetics?

If you are diabetic or know someone who is and who has not had a full diabetic foot assessment by a podiatrist, encourage him or her to do this immediately.

At Heal Focus Podiatry we have all of the equipment required to perform a thorough diabetic foot assessment, which should be done every 12-months at a minimum, and as I mentioned earlier, the best way to help a diabetic patient is with a team approach, which is why we will always liaise closely with your doctor, dietician and other members of your health team.   

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment for your diabetic foot assessment, please telephone our clinic on 0401 828 001 and one of our friendly team will be able to assist you.