Diabetes Podiatry

Description :

A Diabetic podiatrist is an essential member of the diabetes care team who examines the feet of diabetes patients, assesses their risk of developing complications and prescribes preventive or therapeutic measures.

Diabetes affects the foot mainly due to the development of nerve disease (neuropathy). Due to neuropathy, the small muscles of the feet become weak leading to deformities such as claw toes and hammer toes. Presence of these deformities leads to abnormally high pressures being exerted at different parts of the soles of the feet. The foot responds to these high pressures by laying down layers of skin, forming a corn or a callus. Corns and calluses may be painful, but they are more often asymptomatic in diabetes patients who have neuropathy.

Development of large calluses leads to death of the underlying tissue, forming ulcers, which are called tropic ulcers. These ulcers are usually not evident all the way to bone, leading to bone infection (osteomyelitis) which is very difficult to treat. The infection can also spread all the way up the leg and become limb or even life threatening. It is these patients who end up in amputation.