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Chatswood Sydney Sports Podiatrist Helps Diabetics Feet Gait And Toe Problems
How Podiatry Helps Diabetics to Live Longer, Healthier Lives
A diabetes diagnosis comes as a shock to any patient. For many, the news that they can expect foot problems that could even culminate in amputation comes as an unpleasant surprise. But podiatry can help diabetics to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle for longer says leading Sydney podiatrist Mark Lin.
How Diabetes Affects Feet
Regardless of whether they have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the big risk factor for those living with the condition is raised blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
When hyperglycemia occurs over a sustained time period, it causes damage to tissues and organs including nerves and arteries. The combination of nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor blood circulation can lead to extremely painful foot ulcers, and they, in turn, lead to an increased risk of foot problems so severe that amputation is the only solution.
Once diabetes damage has progressed to this degree of severity, the prognosis is dismal. Those with foot ulcers have a 43 to 55 percent chance of mortality within five years. Those who must undergo amputations have a five-year mortality of up to 74 percent.
The frustrating thing, says Lin, is that there’s research indicating that up to 80 percent of diabetes-related amputations are avoidable if the feet are monitored and treated by a professional.
How Podiatrists Help
Mark Lin points out that podiatry has long been accepted as an important element in diabetes management. “It’s not so-called alternative medicine. Medical authorities, even those that are the most conservative about podiatry and diabetes, recommend that patients see a podiatrist at regular intervals, even if they don’t have any obvious foot-related symptoms.”
“We do help with wound treatment and foot ulcer management, but we can prevent ulceration in the first place, and that’s the ideal outcome,” says Lin. “We can also monitor how effectively the patient is managing his or her diabetes by looking at the condition of the feet. When patients aren’t optimising blood glucose effectively, it will show up in the feet, and we can advise them accordingly.”
Advances in Podiatry to Further Enhance Therapy Results
Podiatry is a science, and sciences are constantly advancing. We asked Mark Lin to give us a lowdown on any new developments in podiatric treatments for diabetics. It turns out there’s plenty in the pipeline.
“There’s been a lot of work on the prevention of foot ulcers – there’s also a recent study on specialised insoles that looks promising in preventing the recurrence of foot ulcers. In addition, researchers have found that there are raised skin temperatures prior to the recurrence of a foot ulcer. Patients may be able to identify an impending re-ulceration and go for help sooner.”
“Wearable devices are also becoming more and more important in managing chronic illnesses, and in the very near future, we expect to see patients managing their diabetes-related foot problems more effectively with their help,” says Lin.
When Diabetics Need a Podiatrist
With the link between declining foot health and mortality painting a grim picture, we asked Mark just when patients should see a podiatrist.
“In many cases, doctors will provide a referral,” he says. “But there’s no need to wait for that. Ideally, your podiatric evaluation should take place as soon as possible after your diagnosis. Remember, while we can help with existing foot problems, preventing or delaying their onset is a priority. That’s where we want to enter the picture.”
The message is clear: following diagnosis, diabetes management is a lifelong process. It’s also a team effort, and if you have a podiatrist on your side, you could have a longer, more active, and happier life.
For further information, visit the The Footwork Clinic – Leading Sports, Podiatry, Foot And Lower Limb Corrective Services to book online, or call Mark Lin or his friendly team on +61 2 9131 6891.
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The information contained in this guide is provided in good faith and is not intended to be nor is it to be used as a substitute for any sort of professional, medical or podiatric advice. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a podiatrist. Any users should always seek the advice of their podiatrist, or other qualified healthcare providers before commencing any treatment.
We hope you enjoyed this article
The information contained in this article is based on the authors’ opinion only and is of a general nature which is not indicative of future results or events and does not consider your personal situation or particular needs. Professional advice should always be sought relevant to your circumstances.
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