At risk conditions

Newcastle Family and Sports Podiatry 14

There are some particular diseases and disorders that can put your feet and legs at greater risk.

Diabetes

Diabetes requires special attention. It is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body’s method of converting glucose into energy is not working as it should.

In about 40% of cases, feet become at risk. So everyone with diabetes should undergo a foot assessment at least once a year. This is essential to assess the condition of the skin, and the blood and nerve supply to the feet and legs. More information is available by clicking here.

There are 2 common forms of Diabetes

  • Type 1 – also known as insulin dependent diabetes. This usually affects children and young adults. People with this type of diabetes require daily insulin injections.
  • Type 2 – also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes. This by far is the most common and usually affects people over the age of 40 years.

How Diabetes can affect your feet

Your feet are supplied with blood to keep them healthy. They also have a multitude of nerves that act as an emergency warning system.

However, if your diabetes is poorly controlled for a period of time, this can lead to nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) or reduced blood supply (poor circulation).

 If you have diabetes your feet should be assessed at least once a year, or more often if you are diagnosed as higher risk.

How can I detect any changes early?

A foot assessment by your podiatrist will help detect any changes early. They will examine sensations by testing reflexes, vibration and pressure sensitivity. Early assessment is vital.

How do I know I’m at risk?

  • Signs of skin breakdown or colour change – in particular at the toes and around the back of the heels
  • Pain-free skin breakdown – any colour change, bleeding, or discharge from a skin lesion that is not painful should be reported promptly either to us or your doctor

What increases risk in diabetes?

  • Having diabetes longer than 15 years
  • Constantly having high blood sugar levels
  • Being overweight
  • Not exercising

Prevention

  • Exercise regularly, keep feet clean, maintain acceptable blood sugar, avoid barefoot walking, have corns, calluses, nails treated by a podiatrist.
  • An annual Diabetic Assessment review is a must and a full report  will be provided to your General Practitioner.

Other conditions can create at-risk situations

  • Skin or nail infections
  • Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
  • Vascular deficiencies. Lack of blood supply to your feet and legs, especially as you get older can be quite serious
  • Tumours on your feet
  • Conditions affecting your nerve supply to your feet and legs, including paraplegia and quadriplegia

 

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