November is foot health awareness month as it relates to issues that affect diabetes and foot health by
the US Department of health and human services. This department recognizes the need for diabetics
to be aware that foot health is an integral part of their medical care. Two separate studies have
indicated that amputations may be decreased and healthcare costs may be decreased by regular visits
to podiatrist’s office by diabetics. This is something that I have personally observed over the years.
If patients understand they are diabetic and they need special care for their feet, we can help them
remain ambulatory and decrease their risk for amputations and ulcers. In the past, when Medicare
did not cover the cost of special diabetic shoes for diabetics at risk, I personally witnessed many
unnecessary ulcerations and amputations because of ill-fitting shoes. As a result of the Medicare shoe
program for at risk diabetics, I have seen the number of ulcers drastically reduced over the past 10
years. For the ulcerations and infections that do happen, the new materials and treatments for wound
care have allowed us to heal diabetic ulcerations that were previously untreatable.
The most important point that I have for diabetics is that regular visits to a podiatrist’s office are an
investment in your future which can eliminate and prevent ulcerations and amputations. Even at the
very beginning of the progressive disease of diabetes, even when you feel nothing is wrong with you, a
visit to a podiatrist office can help make you aware of problems that you may not understand presently.
At that first visit, your feet can be examined and evaluated for foot deformities, circulatory problems
and neurological problem. Common problems as hammer toes and bunions can be evaluated and
treated conservatively with a variety of shoes and appliances. The mechanics of your walking will be
evaluated and the structural integrity of your feet can be reviewed. The range of motion of your lower
extremity can be evaluated. Many problems in these areas can be addressed with special supports and
For diabetics, circulation, the amount of blood going into and leaving your feet, is a very important to
be evaluated. Using the latest technologically advanced noninvasive testing, the amount of blood flow
to and from the foot can measured and problem areas can be identified. This is important because
decreased blood flow can be associated with changes in healing, ulcerations and limb threatening issues.
Being able to identify and treat problems with circulation in diabetics can help prevent or treat many of
Sometimes patients will come to office and say “I feel like I have a sock wadded up on the bottom of
my foot” or “I feel like my feet just don’t belong to me anymore.” These and other symptoms such
as numbness, tingling or other changes in sensation may be the beginning of the disease known as
neuropathy. Often this disease is associated with diabetes and is major cause of difficulties for patients.
Several times a year patients will come to the office with an infection in their feet from foreign bodies
that they didn’t realize they had stepped on because they could not feel it. At our office all patients are
screened for neuropathy with special attention placed on diabetics. It is important for diabetics to have
their neuropathy recognized early and have medical and accommodative treatment performed. This can
help prevent some of the more tragic complications of diabetes.
For more information please see our web site at www.gulfcoastfootcare.com or call out office at 239-