Diabetic Foot Complications and How You Can Prevent Them
The relationship between Diabetes and foot health
This can be characterised by a reduction in nerve function, which can manifest in many ways due to the number of different roles the nerves in our body have.
This means you may experience numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, or even like barbed wire around your foot! If you have peripheral neuropathy, a cut or wound on your foot may be unknown to you.
This can have serious health consequences as the wound is prone to infection for a long period of time in the diabetic foot.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
This is a reduction in blood flow to the feet and legs due to fatty deposits or hardening of artery walls. If tissue of the feet and legs do not get the required amount of oxygen, it can lead to tissue breakdown. An example of this process is pain in the calf muscle when walking, this is called intermittent claudication.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
This is a result of the collapsing of valves in the veins returning blood from the feet and legs.
This causes pooling of blood and fluid in the lower parts of the leg and ankles. Common presentations include swelling, and patches of dark discolouration in the lower legs.
Chronic venous insufficiency can lead to skin breakdown called stasis dermatitis.
High amounts of glucose in the blood can affect soft tissue at a molecular level in the diabetic foot resulting it tightening and stiffening of soft tissue structures. This leads to reduced range of motion, stiffness and biomechanical abnormalities in multiple joints of the foot.
The biomechanical changes can cause increased plantar-foot pressure in specific areas. For example, Reduced ankle range of motion and stiffness in the forefoot can lead to high pressures under the metatarsal heads, a common area for diabetic foot ulcer.
Queensland Health uses risk classification to determine the likelihood of a person to get a diabetic foot ulcer. A person is considered HIGH RISK if they have two or more of the conditions mentioned above.
There is a high recurrence rate with foot ulcers. To demonstrate this, anyone who has had a foot ulcer in the past, is automatically placed in the high risk category.
Podiatrists are the best equipped health professionals to treat diabetic foot ulcers, and any other foot-related diabetic complications. Podiatrists also use up-to-date technology to assess patients for the conditions mentioned above and to prevent the progression of these conditions.
How we can help you prevent complications
Dynamic Podiatry offers several first class testing methods to help you prevent diabetic foot ulcers and other complications. To help you have healthy, happy feet!
1. Vascular testing
We offer PPG testing which is so sensitive it can pick up the tiny arteries in the ends of your toes. Using this technology we can measure the systolic pressure in the end of your toe. This gives a great impression of how strong the blood flow in your feet is. We also perform doppler ultrasound studies to measure the strength and quality of the blood flow in your feet and ankles.
2. Neurological (nerve) testing
We use monofilaments and tuning forks to check how sensitive your feet are to stimuli and check whether or not you have peripheral neuropathy.
3. Safe nail cutting and Callous removal
We also have direct access to Queensland Health if you need to be referred to them for regular ulcer care.