Having asked to see a foot doctor, especially if you’re diabetic, might sound odd and almost unbelievable to you. Thoughts race in your head: “Really, why do I need to go to a foot doctor? Is there even such a thing as a podiatrist?”
But hold your horses, right there. Yes, there’s a thing such as a foot doctor. And yes, you should probably obey your physician. Because diabetes is connected to your feet more than you know.
Podiatrists are physicians and surgeons who deal with treatments of the foot, ankles, and connected structures of the leg. In this piece, we teamed up with the foot doctors of Watsonia Podiatry to lay out the reasons why you need to go see the experts in the field. Especially if you’re diagnosed with either Diabetes Type 1 or Type 2.
Blood Flow Assessment
If You’re Diabetic, your blood flow can be compromised. As you already know, the sugar or glucose molecules clog up your artery walls and eventually narrow the blood pathways. Thus, impeding your blood supply.
It gets even trickier because your feet are the farthest from the blood pump, your heart. And they receive the least blood, which is necessary for the different body functions including the healing process.
To see how much damage that the reduced blood flow cost you and your feet, the foot doctors assess them. Just by looking at the skin color and appearance of your foot, they know how damaged your blood flow is.
In addition, one of their many tricks is that they can determine whether you have a healthy, weak, regular, or irregular heartbeat. They pull this off just by feeling the two main pulses that are found on your foot.
Check If You Can Still Feel Your Feet
Aside from the blood supply, our nerves are also greatly affected by diabetes. Nerves are responsible for our bodily functions like heart rate, blood pressure, motor skills, and of course, sensations.
And If You’re Diabetic, there’s a great chance that this disease will take its toll on these functions. The ability to feel is no exception to that.
What happens is that the myelin sheath, which protects that nerve fibers, will absorb more sugar than it’s allowed to and will deteriorate eventually. Leaving the nerve fibres exposed and desensitized. When this occurs, you won’t be able to feel vibrations, warmth and even pain.
When you can’t feel anything, you won’t know immediately whether you’re injured or not. Since you won’t feel that there’s already something wrong with your feet, you won’t be able to take necessary treatment. And trust us, it could go south from there.
That’s where the foot doctors come into play. They’ll assess the condition of your feet and tell you if there’s an area which needs treatment.
Assessing The Health Of Your Skin And Nails
To keep the health and integrity, skin and nails need an adequate supply of blood. Since diabetes impedes blood flow, these two are only some of the many organs that must be assessed for possible treatment and maintenance.
If you go to the podiatrist, your skin will be checked whether you have existing wounds or cuts that could be infected. The foot doctor will also have to inspect your feet for warts, corns, calluses, or lesions that need treatment. They will also check whether your nails have fungal infections and ingrown.
If you leave these conditions untreated, it could be problematic for you. Because you’re not only dealing with damaged skin and nails. You also have reduced healing capability. Diabetes, remember?
Seeing a podiatrist when necessary is one way to keep your feet healthy. Especially when you’re suffering from diabetes. Next time, when the doctor recommends you to go see a foot doctor, it might be best to just obey. This way, you will be assessed properly and will be treated if needed.
When you’re already seeing a podiatrist regularly, you must also look out for your feet. If you see or feel anything unusual, don’t wait for your next visit. Contact your foot doctor right away so you’d be properly assessed or treated.