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We invite you to visit our downtown Lancaster podiatry clinic
At Footcare Services we believe that the prevention of amputations in diabetic patients is one of the most important jobs that a foot doctor can have. Approximately 1 in 4 people with diabetes have nerve damage(also known as neuropathy) in their feet and toes. This means that they can develop wounds in their feet and not know it until it is too late. It also means that they may not feel the foot pain that non-diabetic patients feel. Because of this it is very important that they visit a podiatrist regularly. Our Podiatrist is a Member of the American Professional Wound Care Association and has taken continuing education in courses specifically designed to increase knowledge of the the problems that patients with diabetes face. Click here for more information on foot problems, including neuropathy, that diabetics can face
What are my chances of getting a diabetic foot complication?
* 28 Million people in the U.S. have Diabetes * Approximately 15% on patients with diabetes will develop a foot complication * More than 70,000 patients with diabetes get amputations per year in U.S. * Between 4% and 10% of patients with Diabetes get foot ulcers.
What is a Podiatrist
podiatrist, also called a doctor of podiatric medicine, is a foot specialist who
provides medical diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems, such as
diabetic wounds, plantar fasciitis, bunions, heel pain, spurs, hammertoes, neuromas, ingrown toenails, warts, corns
and calluses. A podiatrist also renders care of sprains, fractures, infections,
and injuries of the foot, ankle and heel. In addition to undergraduate medical
school training, podiatrists also attend graduate school for a doctorate degree
in podiatry. Podiatrists are required to take state and national exams, as well
as be licensed by the state in which they practice. Click here for more information on the role that a Podiatrist has on the health care team of a diabetic patient.
If you have diabetes and notice any of the following signs consult a podiatrist immediately:
People with diabetes can develop
many different foot problems. Even ordinary problems can get worse and lead to
serious complications. Foot problems most often happen when there is nerve
damage, also called neuropathy, which results in loss of feeling in your feet.
Poor blood flow or changes in the shape of your feet or toes may also cause
Although it can hurt, diabetic nerve
damage can also lessen your ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. Loss of
feeling often means you may not feel the foot pain the can warn you of a foot injury. You could have a tack or
stone in your shoe and walk on it all day without knowing. You could get a
blister and not feel it. You might not notice a foot injury until the skin
breaks down and becomes infected.
Nerve damage can also lead to
changes in the shape of your feet and toes. Ask your health care provider about
special therapeutic shoes, rather than forcing deformed feet and toes into
Diabetes can cause changes in the
skin of your foot. At times your foot may become very dry. The skin may peel
and crack. The problem is that the nerves that control the oil and moisture in
your foot no longer work.
After bathing, dry your feet and
seal in the remaining moisture with a thin coat of plain petroleum jelly, an
unscented hand cream, or other such products.
Do not put oils or creams between
your toes. The extra moisture can lead to infection. Also, don't soak your feet
— that can dry your skin.
Calluses occur more often and build
up faster on the feet of people with diabetes. This is because there are
high-pressure areas under the foot. Too much callus may mean that you will need
therapeutic shoes and inserts.
Calluses, if not trimmed, get very
thick, break down, and turn into ulcers (open sores). Never try to cut calluses
or corns yourself - this can lead to ulcers and infection. Let your health care
provider cut your calluses. Also, do not try to remove calluses and corns with
chemical agents. These products can burn your skin.
Using a pumice stone every day will
help keep calluses under control. It is best to use the pumice stone on wet
skin. Put on lotion right after you use the pumice stone.
Ulcers occur most often on the ball
of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. Ulcers on the sides of the foot
are usually due to poorly fitting shoes. Remember, even though some ulcers do
not hurt, every ulcer should be seen by your health care provider right away.
Neglecting ulcers can result in infections, which in turn can lead to loss of a
What your health care provider will
do varies with your ulcer. Your health care provider may take x-rays of your
foot to make sure the bone is not infected. The health care provider may clean
out any dead and infected tissue. You may need to go into the hospital for
this. Also, the health care provider may culture the wound to find out what
type of infection you have, and which antibiotic will work best.
Keeping off your feet is very
important. Walking on an ulcer can make it get larger and force the infection
deeper into your foot. Your health care provider may put a special shoe, brace,
or cast on your foot to protect it.
If your ulcer is not healing and
your circulation is poor, your health care provider may need to refer you to a
vascular surgeon. Good diabetes control is important. High blood glucose levels
make it hard to fight infection.
After the foot ulcer heals, treat
your foot carefully. Scar tissue under the healed wound will break down easily.
You may need to wear special shoes after the ulcer is healed to protect this
area and to prevent the ulcer from returning.
Poor circulation (blood flow) can
make your foot less able to fight infection and to heal. Diabetes causes blood
vessels of the foot and leg to narrow and harden. You can control some of the
things that cause poor blood flow. Don't smoke; smoking makes arteries harden
faster. Also, follow your health care provider's advice for keeping your blood
pressure and cholesterol under control.
If your feet are cold, you may be
tempted to warm them. Unfortunately, if your feet cannot feel heat, it is easy
for you to burn them with hot water, hot water bottles, or heating pads. The
best way to help cold feet is to wear warm socks.
Some people feel pain in their
calves when walking fast, up a hill, or on a hard surface. This condition is
called intermittent claudication. Stopping to rest for a few moments
should end the pain. If you have these symptoms, you must stop smoking. Work
with your health care provider to get started on a walking program. Some people
can be helped with medication to improve circulation.
Exercise is good for poor
circulation. It stimulates blood flow in the legs and feet. Walk in sturdy,
good-fitting, comfortable shoes, but don't walk when you have open sores.
People with diabetes are far more
likely to have a foot or leg amputated than other people. The problem? Many
people with diabetes have artery disease, which reduces blood flow to the feet.
Also, many people with diabetes have nerve disease, which reduces sensation.
Together, these problems make it easy to get ulcers and infections that may
lead to amputation. Most amputations are preventable with regular care and proper footwear.
For these reasons, take good care of
your feet and see your health care provider right away about foot problems. Ask
about prescription shoes that are covered by Medicare and other insurance.
Always follow your health care provider's advice when caring for ulcers or
other foot problems.
One of the biggest threats to your
feet is smoking. Smoking affects small blood vessels. It
can cause decreased blood flow to the feet and make wounds heal slowly. A lot
of people with diabetes who need amputations are smokers.
We accept most Medicaid, Medicare, and Private insurances, including: Amerihealth Mercy, Aetna Better Health, Aetna, Medicare Part B, Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Coventry/ HealthAmerica, Cigna, Humana, Capital Blue Cross, Tricare, Geisinger, Devon Health, and others
We also accept United Healthcare under most circumstances. please call for information
CALL US TODAY AT 717-672-0400 TO SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION