The Importance of Having a Podiatrist on Your Diabetes Care Team

For those with diabetes, seeing your primary care physician regularly is a normal part of your treatment plan. During these visits, your PCP checks your glucose levels, listens to your heart, and asks general health and wellness questions. A good doctor also has your take off your shoes and checks your feet and lower limbs for signs of nerve damage.

But as your diabetes progresses and your age, it becomes important to have other specialists on your diabetes management team. A podiatrist should be one of those specialists.

At Dr. Jeffrey Kleis’s office, we understand the necessity and importance of proper foot care and hygiene, especially for those with diabetes. That’s why we play an integral part in our diabetic patients’ care and treatments.

Although diabetes is most often associated with a patient’s blood sugar, the disease has a wide-ranging effect on other areas of the body as well, including the heart, kidneys, and lower extremities. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes leads to poor circulation and blood flow and, over time, can cause severe nerve damage.

Due to the disease’s effect on cellular health, diabetics are more prone to infection and take longer to heal. Even small issues, such as a cut or blister on the foot, can quickly spiral out of control and, when left unmanaged, people with diabetes can suffer from foot ulcers, neuropathy (loss of feeling), and, in extreme cases, amputation of the foot or leg.

With these complications, it’s not surprising that diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic amputation and is responsible for over 60% of these cases. But with routine visits to the podiatrist, these issues can be avoided and problems can be resolved as they arise.

Avoiding diabetic foot problems

Dr. Kleis works with his patients to prevent diabetic foot and leg issues from becoming serious problems. He discusses a daily care routine appropriate for those with diabetes and often recommends the following:

If abnormalities arise during your daily foot check, contact your podiatrist right away to address these issues before they develop into major problems.

Caring for diabetic toenails

The toenails can often lead to other diabetic foot problems. To keep them as healthy as possible, Dr. Kleis advises patients to keep their toenails short and cut straight across, instead of rounding the nail and cutting the corners. This style of trimming the nails reduces your risk of ingrown toenails, as well as cuts and bruises around the nail.

When your nails become hard, thick, or yellow or you have mobility problems that make taking care of your toenails an issue, talk to your podiatrist about scheduling regular appointments to ensure proper toenail care.

Handling diabetic foot problems as they occur

If you develop bruises, blisters, or redness, your podiatrist may test your shoes for proper fit or recommend prescription diabetic footwear. Your doctor may ask you to change your socks more frequently (at least daily) or opt for socks made from natural fibers, which are better for your skin.

When it’s needed, your podiatrist may trim any corns and calluses, something you should never attempt to do at home. Keeping corns and calluses under control can eliminate friction and rubbing and reduces the risk of skin breakage and infection.

When you have diabetes, including a podiatrist on your management team is vital to successful treatment. Make an appointment at Dr. Kleis’s office today.

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