The Podiatry Diabetic Foot Assessment: How to Spot Foot Problems Caused by Diabetes
The Podiatry Diabetic Foot Assessment
If you have diabetes, you may wonder how often you should have your feet examined by a podiatrist.
While the answer to this question will differ from person to person based on your current health and risk factors, some general guidelines and questions you can ask yourself will help you figure out if it’s time to schedule an appointment with a professional in foot health.
By keeping these guidelines in mind, you can be proactive about preventing foot problems and related complications before they get out of hand.
What Is a Diabetic Foot Exam?
A podiatrist diabetic foot assessment is a full foot exam of your feet that looks for any medical issues, such as previous foot ulceration or diabetic neuropathy. It also evaluates risk factors in a family history of diabetes. With this information, you can make lifestyle changes that may help prevent further health problems with your feet.
Poor circulation (blood flow) and Diabetic neuropathy are the most common causes of diabetic foot problems. Poor blood circulation means it’s more challenging to fend off foot infections and heal from injuries.
As a result, when a person with diabetes has a foot ulcer or injury, it might take longer for the body to heal. This can lead to an infection, which could be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
Amputation may be necessary to save your life if a foot infection is not treated in time. Proper diabetic foot care includes taking medications to reduce blood sugar levels, keep your heart healthy, and improve nerve function. In addition, smoking reduces blood flow and increases the likelihood of developing complications, so quitting is recommended.
Diabetic neuropathy can be detected by a yearly foot exam. Book an appointment with a podiatrist in Santo Domingo today.
What Does a Diabetic Foot Look Like?
Diabetes can cause several serious foot complications, like sores and ulcers on the feet. Unfortunately, many people may not notice or realize they have diabetes until it starts causing problems with their feet.
That’s why people with diabetes need to see a podiatrist as soon as they notice any new foot-related issues. Below are some signs of diabetic foot problems:
- Alteration in skin color
- A fluctuation in temperature
- Calf and foot swelling
- Open wounds on the feet that have trouble healing or cause frequent bleeding
- Ingrown toenails or fungus-infected toenails
- Calluses or Corns
- Thickening on the bottom of your foot
- Sensitivity to touching the bottom of your foot
- Aches in your feet
- Redness along the bottoms of your feet
- Unusual blistering
- Recurrent infections
You should see a podiatrist if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they start showing up all at once or worsen over time.
When a person has diabetes, they are likely to suffer from foot pain due to nerve damage. This condition is called diabetic neuropathy. However, well-managed blood sugar levels can lower the risk of a patient developing diabetic foot pain.
Losing weight and quitting bad habits such as smoking can also help reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy.
The American Diabetes Association advises anyone with diabetes that a podiatrist has not examined within six months to see one immediately because it could save their life. Instead, your foot doctor will examine your feet and check for any problem spots.
For example, they will look at your nail beds, examine your toes and heels, check your circulation in the feet by feeling them, and test how your reflexes work when poked with a needle. A podiatrist like Dr. Ivan Silva can assess and diagnose problems such as an ingrown toenail or plantar fasciitis.
How to Avoid Diabetes Complications
According to the American Diabetes Association, losing 8% to 10% of body weight can help limit disease progression. The more weight loss you experiences, the greater the benefits.
According to a study by the National Library of Medicine, a significant loss in weight may reduce your risk of developing diabetic neuropathy by up to 70%.
Preventing this complication will help you maintain movement in all body parts. In other words, you’ll be able to keep all ten toes and stay on two feet for as long as possible!
What Does a Podiatrist Do for Diabetic Feet?
A podiatrist is one of the team members of your diabetes health care team. Podiatrists are trained to assess the damage to your nerves, assess your specific foot health risks, and work with you to devise a prevention and treatment plan.
It’s beneficial to get a professional assessment of your feet at least once every year or more often if you have any concerns about them.
How Often Should People With Diabetes Have Their Feet Examined?
There is no exact answer for how often diabetic foot problems should be checked. However, scheduling an appointment as soon as possible is recommended if you’re experiencing persistent or new foot symptoms that cause pain.
As a rule of thumb, anyone with diabetes at risk for neuropathy should visit the podiatrist at least once a year. Those with vascular disease, another common complication of diabetes, should see a podiatrist every six months.
The way to prevent foot problems caused by diabetes is to learn more about your condition and develop good habits like checking your feet daily and wearing comfortable shoes that fit well. A podiatrist in Santo Domingo can assist and guide you by providing information and guidance. Reach out today.
What Can I Expect From a Foot Exam?
When you visit your podiatrist, they will do an exam, asking about your symptoms and checking everything from your skin to your toes.
A full exam may also include taking measurements and X-rays. Your doctor will evaluate changes in your feet’ bones, joints, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Some problems may require further tests like blood work or imaging studies (like MRIs).
Your doctor might prescribe medication if they find something wrong that needs treatment. In addition, they might recommend other treatments, such as custom orthotics (shoe inserts), if there are no structural problems but the pain persists.
During your annual foot exam, you can also expect changes in veins, skin, swelling, hair growth, and nail condition. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to predict how long it will take for a foot problem to become a foot emergency. So the first step is to recognize the early signs of a potential problem.
A Stitch in Time Will Always Save Nine!
Dr. Ivan Silva and his team recommend that people with diabetes see a podiatrist at least once a year. If you notice any changes in your foot, call your podiatrist to get it checked out right away. It’s always better to catch a problem before it becomes severe and painful!
Dr. Ivan Silva can provide additional information and advice on preventing and treating common diabetic foot problems for patients. He works on treating the most prevalent causes of diabetic peripheral neuropathy: Charcot’s Foot and Diabetic Ulcers. Discover more about our services by contacting Podiatrist Dr. Ivan Silva today.