Our Colac Podiatrist looks at ‘How does Diabetes affect feet?’

In this blog our Colac Podiatrist, Danny Hegarty, looks at the ways in which Diabetes can affect our feet.

Diabetes is a major health issue in Australia and across the globe. Podiatrist’s play a key role in managing the effects that diabetes can have on our feet.

Keeping it simple, diabetes can affect our feet in two main ways. By reduced blood supply and reduced nerve supply. Let’s take a closer look…

Nerve Supply

There are over 7000 nerve endings in each foot! Having elevated blood sugars over a period of time can cause damage to these making it harder to detect pain. A good parallel I like to draw upon is that high sugars affect foot nerves in the same way sugar affects our teeth with cavities. Some signs of nerve change include;

  • Tingling feeling in the toes
  • Numbness
  • Burning pains at the bottom of the feet
  • Cold feeling in the feet

Your Podiatrist will be able to assess the current health of your nerve endings by doing a few simple tests. This gives us an idea of your ability to detect sharp, hot and cold objects. From there we’re able to give advice if we find any issues.

Blood Supply

Having elevated blood sugars can have a similar affect on arteries to that of smoking. Small plaques form on the wall of the artery which means less blood makes it through and down to our feet. Some signs of this include;

  • Cold feet and toes
  • Colour of feet turning a deep red/blue
  • Cramping in the back of your legs when exercising or walking up stairs
  • Increased healing times for small cuts and abrasions

Your Podiatrist is able to get a good idea of your bloody supply by performing a few tests. We use a hand held doppler to get audible feedback and take a blood pressure of each big toe. This gives us an idea of the health of the arteries. If we find anything out of the ordinary we may suggest further, more specialised testing.

For further information on how to best care for your feet if you have diabetes click the link and check our blog on the subject

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and if you have any questions feel free to get in touch!

All the best,

Danny Hegarty