You may be surprised to know that diabetes is now the world's fastest growing chronic disease. Over one million Australians have diabetes. Alarmingly, about 50 percent of people with diabetes are not even aware they have it. While prevention is certainly ideal, early diagnosis and treatment are the next best thing.
our feet are supplied with blood to keep them healthy. They also have a multitude of nerves that act as an emergency warning system. For example, if you have a stone in your shoe, nerves will send a message to your brain to investigate. However, if your diabetes is poorly controlled for a long period of time, this may lead to:
- nerve damage, or 'peripheral neuropathy', which impairs sensation to the feet,
and / or
- poor circulation or reduced blood supply.
Nerve damage may mean that you no longer notice the stone in your shoes, due to loss of sensation to your feet. This could then lead to an injury you can't feel, and possibly infection.
If you have poor circulation, any injuries or infections to your feet( i.e cuts, burns or scratches) will take longer to heal. This is due to less blood flowing into the arteries in your feet. Blood provides energy to working muscles and aids in healing any tissue damage.
If you have poor circulation, you will need to take extra care to protect your feet from injury. Most foot problems in people who have diabetes occur when injuries - often infections - go unnoticed and untreated, or when healing is delayed due to poor circulation.
At Total Care Podiatry our comprehensive diabetes assessment includes an ultrasound doppler assessment of the blood flow in your feet which can be compared with the blood flow in your arm, or between your ankle and toes. We also assess your nerve sensation and any pressure areas which may be developing under your feet or on your toes.