Diabetes is a complex condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Podiatrists play a crucial role in supporting people with diabetes by providing expert foot care and helping to prevent lower limb complications. In this blog, we’ll explore how podiatrists can help people with diabetes.
Preventing foot complications is a top priority for podiatrists who work with people with diabetes. Rather than focusing on the risks and negative outcomes of foot problems, podiatrists take a positive approach by empowering their patients to take control of their foot health. This can include education on proper foot care, wearing appropriate footwear, and engaging in physical activity to control their diabetes.
While prevention is crucial, early detection is also critical. Podiatrists use their expertise to conduct regular foot exams by checking foot circulation and sensation and assessing biomechanical factors that may increase a person’s risk for developing problems such as pressure areas.1 By detecting problems early, podiatrists can help prevent foot ulcers, infections, and even amputations.
Podiatrists work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals including endocrinologists, optometrists, general practitioners, physiotherapists and diabetes educators to provide comprehensive care to people with diabetes. This multi-disciplinary approach ensures that all aspects of a person’s health are considered and that treatment plans are personalised to meet an individual’s circumstances and goals. By working together, healthcare professionals can help people with diabetes achieve optimal foot health and overall well-being.
Podiatrists understand that each person with diabetes has unique foot care requirements and will take a tailored approach to treatment noting a person’s age, overall health, occupation and lifestyle to help them manage their condition. This personalised approach can include creating custom orthotics to redistribute pressure on their feet, recommending appropriate footwear, and providing general skin and nail care should it be too risky or difficult for the person to perform themselves. Podiatrists also develop comprehensive treatment plans based on the progression of a person’s diabetes.1
Podiatrists will also take the time to educate on proper foot care, including how to monitor for signs of foot problems, how to care for their feet themselves if safe to do so, and how to prevent complications. By providing education in a supportive manner, podiatrists empower their patients to take control of their own foot health, teaching people how to care for their foot health at home.2
Podiatrists play a vital role in supporting people with diabetes to maintain optimal foot health and prevent complications. Through collaboration with other healthcare professionals, and by providing comprehensive education, treatment, and encouraging monitoring their foot health at home, podiatrists can help people with diabetes to live their best possible lives.
1Mendez, I. L. (2020). Guidelines on the prevention of foot ulcers in persons with diabetes. Diabetes/metabolism research and reviews, 36, e3269.
2Bus, S. A.‐S. (2022). Diabetes Self-Management Education and Association with diabetes self-care and clinical preventive care practices. The Science of Diabetes Self-Management and Care, 48(1), 23-34.