Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the pancreas no longer produces enough insulin, or the cells stop responding to insulin in the body. This results in higher levels of glucose in the blood.
Long Term Lower Limb Complications of Diabetes:
- Loss of protective sensation
- Decreased blood supply to the feet
- Increased risk of infection
- Diabetic foot ulcers, amputations and gangrene
Once your risk level is determined for diabetes related foot complications, it is important to follow the guidelines for recommended diabetes foot check timeframes (see left hand diagram).
Neurovascular Diabetes Foot Assessment Includes:
The podiatrist will assess your protective sensation and balance using a 10g monofilament and vibration tuning fork. Sensation in your feet is important as it is responsible for:
- Blood flow/ sweating regulation
- Muscle strength/control
They will let you know if you have any neuropathy (nerve damage) and where this loss of sensation has occurred. Loss of sensation will increase your risk category, and require more regular diabetes foot assessments.
- Delayed healing
- Cold feet, cyanosed (blue)
- Muscle cramps and pain during walking and resting.
- Poor skin/nail conditions
- Reduction in hair growth
Reduced circulation also increases your risk category and more frequent diabetes foot assessments will need to be undertaken by the podiatrist.
The combination of numb, insensitive feet (neuropathy) and poor circulation means cuts or injuries may go unnoticed and progress to infected ulcers which may heal poorly.
The podiatrist at Well Heeled Podiatry will educate you in respect to monitoring for infection, giving you extensive education on diabetes and foot related risks. They will provide you with advice on daily diabetic foot care and preventative strategies for diabetic foot complications.
WARNING: This information is a guide only and does not replace professional podiatry advice. This content is provided by Well Heeled Podiatry for educational purposes only. It does not in any way replace the need for a face to face consultation with a podiatrist to accurately diagnose and treat the condition. Treatment and outcomes will vary between patients depending on the nature of the presenting complaint and subsequent diagnosis of condition.