According to the Diabetes UK, about 2.5 million people suffer from diabetes. It is estimated that by 2025, there will be more than four million people with diabetes in the UK. Foot problems are a big risk in diabetics. Diabetics must constantly monitor their feet or otherwise they could face severe consequences, including amputation. What you may not know is nearly 80% of life altering amputations could have been prevented.
Foot problems in persons with diabetes are usually the result of three primary factors: neuropathy, poor circulation, and decreased resistance to infection. Also, foot deformities and trauma play major roles in causing ulcerations and infections in the presence of neuropathy or poor circulation.
Patients who suffer from neuropathy, increasingly difficult to distinguish between hot and cold and dull and sharp, as well as the ability to feel pain and pressure. This could lead to potentially dangerous and undetected injuries for a diabetic. The risks of developing ulcers and infections are significantly increased.
Poor circulation inhibits the body's ability to allow adequate blood flow to extremities. Blood carries the necessary oxygen and nutrients necessary to aid in the body's healing processes as well as keeping those body parts active and healthy. Poor circulation to the feet and legs slow down the healing process when injured. When your wound is not healing, it's at risk for infection. As a diabetic your infections spread quickly and greatly increase the risks to contract gangrene.
When your foot becomes numb, they are at risk for becoming deformed. The bone condition Charcot foot is one of the most serious foot problems and it warps the shape of your foot. With Charcot foot your bones fracture and disintegrate and eventually this could lead to severe deformities in your foot. Large bony overgrowths develop as the body replaces lost bone with the new bone and may protrude from the top of the foot. Calluses and ulcers may form when bony protrusions rub inside the shoes. Infected pressure ulcers and osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone caused by infection) may develop. As this can be very disabling, early diagnosis and treatment is vitally important.
Most of these problems are preventable through proper care and regular visits to your podiatrist. Proactive screening, regular assessment and education are effective measures to detect and help to prevent early foot problems, thus reducing amputation rates.
In Temple Clinic the role of our podiatrist is essential to this approach and we offer:
Specialised consultation and care for diabetes and your feet at Temple Clinic in Ealing, West London