What services does a podiatrist provide?
A podiatrist helps patients with diabetes to manage foot health and prevent any foot-related complications that could occur due to diabetes.
How do you help people with diabetes?
Patients living with diabetes come in regularly for routine care, such as callus removal and nail cutting. This helps reduce any risk of them creating a wound themselves. A neurovascular test, which tests nerve function and circulation, is carried out at least once a year to monitor any deterioration that could lead to complications.
We tend to treat patients with ulcers with offloading techniques to help the area heal. We also offer regular appointments for wound dressings, to keep the area clean.
Why are you an important part of “Team Diabetes”?
“Prevention is better than cure”. I have seen many patients that come in with diabetic ulcers that could have been prevented due to them trying to cut their own toe nails, or not creaming their feet regularly, or simply walking bare foot. We encourage people to visit a podiatrist every six months.
Do you have a story or anecdote from a client that you could share about how foot health (good or bad) has impacted their life?
A patient I had been seeing for a year was regularly coming in to the clinic for podiatry care to prevent complications from type 2 diabetes. One day he came in for his appointment and I had noticed callus forming at the bottom of his big toe. The patient was neuropathic (loss of sensation) and so could not feel anything at the bottom of his foot. After removal of the callus there was a very deep ulcer that had formed. On further observation, there was a piece of wood measuring approximately five centimetres that was embedded into the sole of his foot. The patient recalled walking barefoot in his shed to look for something. It took several re-dressing appointments and antibiotics from the doctor to finally get the area to heal.
I explained the importance of always wearing shoes even if he was only walking for a few minutes. This is a form of protection for the feet. It prevents you from stepping on things and stops cuts from occurring which can lead to infections and ulcers. If not treated well, it can lead to loss of limbs.