If you have diabetes, even minor foot problems can pose a major health threat, because it can damage nerves and reduce blood flow to your extremities. This results in an inability to sense things in your feet and poor vision, which can make it harder to see your feet. You may not realize that you have a small wound or crack in your skin, and it may become infected quickly. If you have diabetes, you are at increased risk of needing a lower extremity amputated due to these complications. Fortunately, with good foot care and regular attention from a qualified podiatrist like Dr. Young, many of the foot problems associated with diabetes can be prevented.
I have diabetes. How often should I come in for a foot exam?
Dr. Young recommends that diabetic patients visit annually for a diabetic exam. Depending on each patient's needs, there may be ongoing care every two to three months for a thorough examination of their skin and musculoskeletal system. It is important to keep an open line of communication with Dr. Young to determine how frequently you should come in for care.
Do you see diabetic patients of all ages?
Yes. We see both children and adults with diabetes.
How can I help prevent complications with home care for my feet?
For people with diabetes, good home care can prevent amputation and other complications from arising. You should check your feet every day, looking for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. Call Dr. Young’s office if you notice any sign of a wound or infection. If you cannot see any part of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help. Wash your feet gently every day and dry them carefully. If your skin is dry (a common issue for diabetics), use an approved diabetic skin lotion, as some over-the-counter lotions are dangerous for diabetics. Protect the skin of your feet by wearing comfortable shoes and socks at all times. Don't put your feet into hot water or use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.
What non-surgical treatments are available for diabetics?
Dr. Young has specialized training to diagnose and treat foot conditions that result from diabetes. Prompt intervention means a wider variety of treatment options, without need for conventional surgery. She can treat ulcers and ingrown toenails, remove corns and callouses, and prescribe antibiotics for infections. If you are experiencing loss of sensation or poor circulation, you may benefit from special shoes that help prevent minor injuries, lacerations, or wounds that can lead to gangrene and amputation.
Is foot care for diabetes covered by insurance?
Knowing that foot, ankle, and leg problems can become serious for diabetics, most insurance programs including Medicare will cover emergency as well as routine nail and foot care. The special shoes to protect your feet are generally only covered for older patients, but please check with your insurance provider to confirm details.