Diabetic Foot Treatments
Diabetic foot treatments from Trinity Podiatry in Edinburgh
Foot care is especially important for people with diabetes to prevent or eliminate problems. Regular foot care from a Health Professions Council Registered Podiatrist, is essential to keep a diabetic’s feet in good order. At Trinity Podiatry, we can help keep your feet healthy.
Diabetic foot care
Diabetes mellitus is a disorder in which sugars in the body are not broken down to produce energy due to a lack of the pancreatic hormone “Insulin.” This disorder is characterised by an inability to reabsorb water, which results in an increased urine production, excessive thirst and excessive eating.
The accumulation of this sugar leads to its appearance in the bloodstream (hyperglycaemia) and then in the urine. As this sugar cannot be broken down to produce energy, the body utilises its fat storage as an energy source.
This alternative source of energy leads to disturbances of the acid base balance and accumulation of ketones (Ketosis) in the blood, this eventually leads to convulsions, which precede diabetic coma.
There are 2 types of diabetes
Insulin dependent diabetes
In this condition patients have little or no ability to produce the hormone insulin and are entirely dependent on insulin injections for survival.
Non-insulin dependent diabetes
Usually occurs after the age of 40. The pancreas retains some ability to produce insulin but it is inadequate for the body’s needs. Patients may require advice on diet or treatment with oral hypoglycaemic drugs.
With both types of diabetes, diet must be carefully controlled with adequate carbohydrates for the body’s needs. Lack of balance in the diet, or in the amount of insulin taken, leads to hypoglycaemia.
This is a deficiency of glucose in the bloodstream causing muscular weakness, in-coordination, mental confusion and sweating, which may lead to hypoglycaemic coma. Long-term complications of diabetes include thickening of the arteries, which can affect the eyes. It is therefore important that the eyes are also checked regularly.
Complications of diabetes
Diabetes is a disease with widespread complications throughout the body, and the feet are one of the main areas in which serious complications can occur. Complications include:
Neuropathy, this is damage to the peripheral nerves causing weakness and numbness.
There is a danger that due to loss of protective sensation pressure sores and general damage to the skin may occur causing danger of infection. Neuropathy may improve with control of diabetes.
Ischaemia, this is a vascular disease where there is inadequate flow of blood to a part caused by constriction of the blood vessels.
Diabetes affects the nerves so that pain signals arising from the feet cannot reach the brain. The diabetic patient loses the warning signals produced by injury. Similarly, if the blood flow to the feet is limited or absent, then the ability of the body to fight infection is removed. This allows the infection to spread and a leg can become at risk from gangrene and amputation.
At Trinity Podiatry Clinic we can perform tests that offer a reliable and efficient indication of whether a diabetic is likely to develop the diabetic foot syndrome called peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is a disease of the sensory nerves, which often results in the insidious development of painless ulceration and gangrene of the toes and feet.
If you have been diagnosed as having diabetes then these tests are recommended every six months.
Care of diabetic feet
As a diabetic you may experience a reduction in feeling, so other senses should be used, especially the eyes and hands, to detect the earliest signs of injury or infection. If these signs are neglected serious problems may develop.
The diabetic should follow these simple rules: