Staying healthy while living with diabetes adds a lot of time and effort to your daily routine. From checking your blood sugar, making regular check-ups with your doctor, eating healthy, finding time to be active, and taking medications—it’s a lot to manage on your own. You already have a lot on your plate, so regularly caring for your feet is probably the last thing on your mind. However, diabetes can promote serious life-threatening foot complications that could even lead to amputation if left unchecked. Don’t worry—this fate is easily preventable by incorporating at-home foot care into your health care regimen and making a regular appointment with a foot care practitioner.
Take your foot health seriously—make an appointment for regular diabetic foot care with one of our experienced, highly-qualified foot care practitioners. We specialize in preventing diabetes-related foot conditions, such as nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) and poor blood circulation (peripheral arterial disease). Your feet carry you wherever you go, so maintaining healthy feet forms the foundation for lifelong health.
When should you visit a foot care practitioner?
All people with diabetes are at high risk for serious foot complications and should visit a foot specialist regularly as part of their healthcare routine. High blood sugar can cause nerve damage and circulation problems, resulting in numbness, tingling and loss of sensation in the lower legs and feet. If you can’t feel pain, you may not notice when you have a cut, blister or open sores (ulcers) on your feet, and poor circulation makes them heal slower. Any open wound left untreated can become a life-threatening infection and may even require amputation. Diabetic feet can even promote deformities such as Charcot’s foot, leading to other complications.
Maintaining proper foot care habits at home and receiving regular evaluation, cleaning, and preventative maintenance by your foot care specialist is your best bet for preventing foot problems (and stopping minor issues from becoming serious ones).
Diabetic feet can quickly and suddenly develop serious foot problems. See your foot care practitioner right away if you notice:
- A cut, blister, or bruise on your feet that takes longer to heal than normal
- Any open wounds (ulcers)
- Red, warm, or painful skin
- A callus with dried blood inside
- Any evidence of foot infection (discoloration, unusual, pungent smells, swelling)
- Reduced sensitivity to pain, touch, changes in temperature, or any numbness, tingling or burning in your feet
On your first visit, your foot care practitioner will perform an exam and determine if you are at risk of severe complications. An annual exam is plenty if your circulation is good and you aren’t experiencing any tingling or numbness. Otherwise, it’d be best if you regularly visited a podiatrist every 2–3 months.
Arthritic symptoms tend to worsen over time, so the earlier you seek treatment, the easier it is to optimize your future wellness and quality of life.
What to expect during your visit
During your appointment, your foot care practitioner will perform a comprehensive evaluation, diagnose new conditions, and offer treatment options to fix and prevent any problems. Here’s a quick overview of what you should expect during your visit:
Our evaluation process is straightforward and non-invasive, designed to quickly get to the root of the problem and develop optimal treatment options. During your visit, your evaluation may include:
- A review of your past medical history and the history of your present illness or conditions
- Comprehensive foot and lower limb inspection and physical assessment
- Biomechanical assessment and gait analysis: how you walk, stand and run, where your feet apply pressure, and how the energy generated from walking transfers through your body
- Assessing your daily footwear and self-care habits
- X-rays, vascular, dermatological or neurological exams and functional tests of all types depending on need
After your foot care practitioner completes their assessment, they’ll explain their findings and the treatment options available to you. Your treatment plan will vary depending on your condition and the details of your specific case, but it could include:
- Routine foot care: General cleaning and preventative maintenance; treatment of recurring conditions that could aggravate your diabetic feet.
- Orthotics: We may prescribe orthotics to reduce pain and help correct improper stance, positioning or movement.
- Stretches and muscle-strengthening exercises: Improve muscular imbalances and help develop proper positioning and movement.
- Medication or topical solutions: For infections and concerns such as athlete’s foot.
- Cutting-edge therapies and techniques: Laser, near infra-red, microwave and stimulation therapies to promote deep-tissue healing, reduce pain and inflammation, improve circulation, and more.
- Rehabilitative massage: Improve circulation, stimulate healing, and reduce pain and inflammation.
- Foot care-related advice and education: Tips and techniques for maintaining foot health and preventing future complications when away from our office: advice on proper footwear, hygiene, at-home, self-care practises movement techniques, etc.
- Ulcer treatment: If the ulcer only involves the top layer of the skin, your foot care provider will clean and remove the dead skin and tissue and apply antibiotics and dressings. More extensive ulcers usually require a hospital visit and surgical intervention.
- Surgery: If you’ve developed a foot condition and it’s resistant to other treatments, your podiatrist may perform minor surgery to correct the issue and prevent it from recurring. Surgery is always a last-resort measure. Except in rare circumstances, we’ll never recommend it unless all other options have failed.
For a more in-depth view of all the treatments we offer at our clinic, head to our Treatments and Devices page.
Your treatment, your way
We aim to design practical, realistic, fast-acting treatment plans that are at most a minor inconvenience and get you back to living healthy and pain-free as soon as possible. Through patient-doctor collaboration, we’ll work together to identify a proven, effective treatment plan that matches not only the needs of your condition but the needs of your specific situation and lifestyle.
Plan your visit
Although diabetic feet risk developing serious secondary complications, there’s no need to fear. Our Ottawa-based clinic offers comprehensive care for all demographics and the most modern, cutting-edge diabetic foot care techniques and treatments in the Capital Region. Together, we’ll find the best treatment plan to correct and prevent your diabetes-related foot problems and promote lifelong health.
Whether you’re an Ottawa resident or just visiting, take a step in the right direction and book an appointment with Greenberg Podiatry.