November is Diabetes Awareness Month and as part of this campaign, we would like to help you understand the importance of regular visits to your foot doctor.
First, proper foot care is essential. Nail and skin problems like ingrown toenails, corns between toes, cracked heels can get worse and may increase the risk of an infection if left untreated. Also, if blood flow is compromised by the effects of diabetes, the wound healing process can be more difficult. Seeing a podiatrist is important to prevent those problems and to keep you in the best shape possible. A complete foot exam is always carried out. Corns and calluses are removed and nails are cut and slimmed down with sterile medical instruments.
Second, your foot doctor will check your shoes to see if they cause friction or pressure that may be the origin of wounds. In case of pain or changes in the aspect of your feet like hammer toes, bunions and flat feet, your podiatrist will do a complete biomechanical exam, including a gait analysis. Next, he will recommand you treatments that best suit to your condition, so you can always stay active.
Finally, it is necessary to determine if there is a loss of sensation in your feet (diabetic neuropathy). The podiatrist uses two instruments : a monofilament for testing the loss of protective sensation and a tuning fork to evaluate sensitivity to vibration. Those tests are recommended for diabetic patients at least once a year.
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