Think On Your Feet

What diabetic patients need to know to maintain foot health.

Diabetes is a disease that can affect a person’s heart, kidneys, eyes, nerves and feet. However, with adequate medical care, home management, exercise and proper diet, most people with diabetes can lead a normal and full life.

Because the disease can result in a decrease in circulation and/or a decreasing sensation in the feet, foot issues are among the more common complications caused by diabetes.

“Part of managing the disease should include routine foot screenings,” explains board-certified podiatric surgeon Robert P. Dunne, DPM, of Lake Washington Foot & Ankle Center. “Most patients watch what they eat, take their medications as prescribed and exercise, but many fail to see the importance of having a physician evaluate their overall foot health.”

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, more than 65,000 diabetic patients per year will have a lower limb amputation, and the odds of a second amputation within three to five years increases by 50 percent.

This is why it is essential to keep an eye on your lower extremities and take care of any issues that may occur.

“Seeing a podiatrist can greatly reduce a patient’s risk of having a lower limb amputation,” Dr. Dunne emphasizes.

“When it comes to corns, callouses and routine nail care, patients often don’t give a second thought to taking care of these issues themselves. But many times home treatment can lead to greater issues, including ulcers and infection. This will typically stem from the patient nipping the skin without realizing it as a result of neuropathy that often accompanies diabetes.”

Early Intervention

There are other complications directly related to diabetes that can present themselves such as peripheral neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Many of these issues can be avoided by seeing a podiatrist regularly for routine care.

Lake Washington Foot & Ankle is a comprehensive podiatric clinic offering treatment for everything from bunions to hammertoes.

“We treat ingrown toenails, warts and neuromas,” Dr. Dunne assures.

“Our patients come first, and we recommend that they take action now if they have a problem,” Dr. Dunne informs. “Many people are intimidated by treatment for fungal nails because of known side effects to the liver and other organs. These medications are no longer the only option, and alternate treatments are available.”

Article courtesy of Lake Washington Foot & Ankle Center. mkb


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