We’re just going to jump in and answer this blog’s title question right away: YES! Anyone with diabetes should have their feet checked at least once a year by a qualified foot specialist. And once-yearly checkups are not always enough. That’s because diabetics are prone to two types of problems that podiatrists are uniquely qualified to diagnose:
- Neuropathy (nerve damage): When you feel pain, it’s because your nerves are sending a message to your brain: “That’s hot!” or “Blood’s been drawn!” High blood sugar interferes with the nerves’ ability to send and receive these kinds of messages. So if you step on a rock and cut your foot, you might not even feel it. Neuropathy also causes problems with the feet’s skin and sweat glands.
- Poor circulation: Diabetes eventually causes damage to your blood vessels as well. Blood may not be circulating to your feet as it should. As a result, blood can’t flow freely to that cut on your foot. It takes a long time to heal, it’s prone to infections, and the risk of amputation rises.
Having a podiatrist on your health care team helps prevent needless amputations. Diabetics who notice any of the following foot problems should make an appointment with a podiatrist right away to minimize the risk of limb loss:
- loss of feeling anywhere in your feet
- skin lesions including blisters, calluses, and deep cracks
- fungal infections
- wounds that won’t heal
- structural deformities such as hammertoes and bunions
- change in foot shape
- pain in your feet or lower legs, especially when you walk
Early intervention can save a limb. We encourage diabetics living in northern Ohio’s Summit, Cuyahoga, Portage, and Geauga Counties to make annual appointments with expert podiatrists Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland. Contact us at our office in Solon, at (440) 903-1041 for an appointment anytime you have a concern about your diabetic feet.