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Podiatrists play a key role in providing appropriate foot care for people with diabetes. A person with diabetes should have a comprehensive diabetic foot examination by a podiatrist on a yearly basis. Depending on the findings on the comprehensive diabetic foot examination based on the risk status of the person, a regular schedule of foot care should be set up. For those persons with diabetes and no risk--yearly foot examinations are fine. For others, depending on their risk status they may need to be seen more frequently. This is the basis for regular scheduled examinations and foot care, but any acute problems should be evaluated immediately. The greatest danger is for those with diabetes that have lost the ability to sense pain in other words they have the loss of protective sensation (peripheral neuropathy). These persons need to be extremely careful and have their feet inspected daily by themselves or a family member to look for any areas of redness, irritation, cuts or sores.
Podiatrists are an important member of the team of providers providing care for people with diabetes. Studies have established that including podiatrists in the care of people with diabetes leads to less lower extremity complications. Prevention is essential in preventing serious diabetic foot problems.
The role of a podiatrist in diabetic foot care ranges from regular prevention and education to identifying and treating problems before they get out of hand. In the extreme cases, it can be about helping control an infection and attempting to save a limb.
Each year more than 65,000 lower limbs are amputated due to complications from diabetes. By including a podiatrist in your diabetes care you can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation by up to 85%. Podiatrists play an integral role in amputation prevention by performing regular foot screenings and early recognition. For example, a podiatrist will look for the following diabetes warning signs 1) Dry cracks in the skin 2) Ingrown and fungal toenails 3) Numbness in the feet or toes 4) Open sores on the feet that are slow to heal 5) Swelling of the foot or ankle 6) Pain in the legs 7) Skin color changes 8) Bleeding corns and calluses.
Diabetes affects the lives of nearly 26 million people in the United States and nearly seven million don’t even know they have the disease yet.
Podiatrist plays a key role in helping patients manage diabetes successfully and avoid foot-related complications and are an important part of your diabetes management team.
The keys to amputation prevention are early recognition and regular foot screenings performed by a podiatrist.