Why should diabetics see a podiatrist?

A podiatrist is an important part of your diabetes health care team. Podiatrists are specifically trained to assess the nerve damage in your feet, identify your specific foot health risks, and help you come up with a treatment and prevention plan. Diabetes can impact your feet in a number of ways, and podiatrists help address those issues.

When you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist be sure to go prepared with information on your medical history, as well as, a list of questions or concerns.

common diabetic foot problems

  •  Nerve Damage - You may experience neuropathy (nerve damage) this can cause pain and numbness in your feet. Eventually, this can cause more serious problems, including the loss of feeling in your feet and toes. When this happens an injury like a cut can go unnoticed.

  • Foot Ulcers - A foot ulcer is a wound that can occur on the foot and/or toes. The tissue on a part of the foot breaks down to create an open wound. These ulcers can grow larger and easily become infected. Treatment is lengthy and expensive. If not properly treated or cared for they may require amputation.

  • Charcot Foot - When you have nerve damage in your feet this can also cause weakening of the bones in your feet. When these bones weaken they can fracture and result in foot deformities.
     

Management of your feet

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 discoloration.

  • 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.

  • Have new shoes properly measured and fitted. 

  • Don't go barefoot. Don't go without shoes, even in your own home. 

  • Never try to remove calluses, corns, or warts by yourself.

  • Regular checkups by a podiatrist—at least annually—are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.

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