Why do people with diabetes need to visit a Podiatrist

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.

In 2019, approximately 3.9 million UK people were diagnosed with diabetes and by 2025 its expected to be around 5.3 million people. Read about the number of people with diabetes here.

If left untreated, it can cause many health problems. Large amounts of glucose can damage blood vessels, nerves and organs.

Even a mildly raised glucose level that doesn't cause any symptoms can have damaging effects in the long term.

Nerve damage can lead to sensory neuropathy (loss or limited feeling in the foot). A podiatrist will check a patient's foot for sensation at each visit.

Doppler and Monofilament

Tools of The Trade

A Healthy Blood Supply!

Blood vessel damage will reduce the amount of blood getting to the end of the foot, which can increase healing times and reduce the body's ability to fight off infections when a cut or damage has occurred to the leg or foot.

It is recommended people with diabetes have their feet cared for by a qualified podiatrist, ensuring the nails are cut correctly, with no sharp edges to cause trauma to the other toes or the legs by scratching.

Monitoring the quality of the blood flow to the feet is of vital importance, and is done with a device called a pedal doppler, very similar to an ultrasound device used to listen to an unborn child whilst still inside the mother.

Most people are surprised when they find out they have a pulse in their feel. Podiatrists get very concerned when patients have no pulses in their feet!

Checking the pulses with a Doppler

Checking the pulses with a Doppler

How's the Beat in Your Feet?

One of the key skills  podiatrists utilise, is their listening skills.  Not only when asking you about your health, how we can help you today, is your medication still the same, or has it changed, but also when assessing your feet.

Using the doppler allows us to listen to your pulse to assess the quality of the blood suppy to your feet.  We are listening to the number of sounds per beat, the pitch, and also the rhythm.

When we hear something out of the ordinary, or compare the pulse to the previous assessment, and spot a reduction in quality, we take action.  I'm sending letters to G.P's almost on a weekly basis about circulation problems.

Also, listening for an irregular heart beat, or Atrial Fibrillation as it is medically known, means we can help intervene early and help prevent a heart attack or stroke!  Sometimes the rhythm is only slightly out, and difficult to detect with the ears, so other devices can be used to check.

The KardiaMobile deviceI use has confirmed more irregular pulses than I can remember, but it's almost like having a consultant on stand-by for a second opinion!  And the app lets you download the results - giving your doctor the heads up, and saving more time and money for the NHS.

Kardia Mobile

Kardia Mobile - Possible Atrial Fibrillation Detected

Get the right care

Make sure your podiatrist is registered with the Health and Carers Professions Council. Check at http://www.hpc-uk.org/. All good podiatrists will be happy to let you know their HCPC registration number.

My registration number is CH32731.