The Importance of Having a Board-Certified Podiatrist on Your Diabetic Care Team

Apr 01, 2023

misc image

The Importance of Having a Board-Certified Podiatrist on Your Diabetic Care Team

Since diabetes is a blood sugar issue, people often don’t realize it also affects their feet. Yet, diabetes can cause several foot issues and lead to severe complications, including amputation. 

At Sequoia Institute Orthopaedic Specialists, with offices in Visalia, Porterville, and Reedley, California, our Board Certified Podiatrist, Dr. James Teela, provides diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive foot care services to patients of all ages. He specializes in diabetic foot wound care and limb preservation. Dr. Teela explains why anyone with diabetes should have a board-certified podiatrist on their care team.

Diabetes and foot problems

When you have diabetes, your body doesn't process glucose (sugar) properly, causing high sugar levels to stay in your blood and circulate. Over time, this excess sugar can damage your nerves and circulatory system, leading to diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease.

It’s crucial to recognize the warning signs of foot problems, including:

  • Reduced sensation
  • Tingling, burning, or pain
  • Changes in foot color or shape
  • Hair loss on feet, toes, or lower legs
  • Yellowing and thickening of the toenails
  • Soreness, blisters, red spots, or other damage

The most common foot complications of diabetes are:

Diabetic neuropathy

This condition develops when nerve damage lowers your sensitivity in your extremities. This means you have difficulty feeling your feet, making detecting irritation, soreness, or discomfort difficult. As a result, your chances of developing foot injuries like blisters, sores, and infections increase because you may not notice problems until they progress. 

Peripheral vascular disease

When you have peripheral vascular disease, fatty deposits in your blood vessels interfere with the blood flow to your extremities. The reduced blood flow to your feet can cause pain and infection and affect your healing ability.

Both diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease increase your risk of severe foot infections and gangrene, which can require amputation. More than 50% of foot amputations in the United States are due to diabetes.

Diabetic foot care

Don’t wait for complications to arise. Instead, protect your feet by following a preventive foot care program. Dr. Teela recommends patients with diabetes follow these daily steps:

  • carefully inspect the top, bottom, and sides of your feet for signs of irritation
  • wash your feet in warm water with a gentle cleanser
  • keep your feet dry to avoid infection, especially in between your toes
  • moisturize your feet to eliminate rough or dry patches
  • trim your toenails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails
  • Wear comfortable shoes made of breathable materials that avoid putting pressure on your feet or causing any irritation. 

In addition to preventive care, Sequoia Institute for Services offers a variety of innovative neuropathy treatments to relieve chronic nerve pain and discomfort. 

If you have diabetes, learn more about diabetic foot care. Book a consultation at Sequoia Institute for Surgical Services.  Call or request an appointment online.