Diabetes is a disease affects multiple organs in the body. It affects a patient’s immune system, nervous system and circulatory system just to name a few. In a controlled diabetic patient, the effects of diabetes are usually well controlled. When complications of the disease occur, often the feet are the first to be affected. Long Island Diabetic patients are strongly advised to have a routine foot exam with a Long Island podiatrist twice a year. This will prevent any foot problems that are so often associated with diabetes. A routine diabetic foot exam includes testing for blood flow, nerve function, skin condition and joint function.
Diabetes can affect the circulation and cause decreased arterial blood flow to the feet. With decreased oxygen getting to the small vessels in the feet and toes, the skin loses hair and becomes less pliable, and often has a dry, thin appearance. If the patient with decreased circulation develops a wound, it is much less likely to heal and can become infected. A routine foot exam assesses the amount of blood flow to the feet and non-invasive testing such as ultrasound can be preventative.
Diabetes can affect nerve function. Many times, one of the first symptoms of diabetes is the loss of sensation in the feet (neuropathy). Patients can step on something sharp and not feel it, which can lead to infection and several other complications. Nerve function can easily be tested by a Long Island podiatrist non-invasively.
Part of the diabetic foot exam includes close inspection of the skin of the feet and in between the toes. The skin is examined for calluses caused by increased pressure to an area, bruising, blisters, dry skin and any opening in the skin. Preventative measures including proper shoe gear, and daily moisturizing of the skin will prevent complications. The skin exam also includes an exam and treatment of the toenails. The nails can become thickened and brittle with diabetes and become difficult to care for at home. A Long Island podiatrist can properly care for the nails and recommend proper moisturizing products and shoegear.
Lastly, the diabetic foot is inspected for bone and joint abnormalities. Bony deformities such as bunion and hammertoe deformities or any other joint contracture can caused an increased area of pressure on the skin. This combined with a compromised immune system, poor circulation and/or neuropathy can cause a skin ulcer, infection which often leads to gangrene or worse, amputation.
To avoid diabetic foot complications, every diabetic controlled or uncontrolled should see a Long Island podiatrist at Great Neck Family Foot Care least once a year for a comprehensive diabetic foot exam. This will save both money and headache for the patient and guarantee good foot health despite having diabetes.
Download Diabetic Foot Care Patient Guide