As a Seattle podiatrist I see diabetic patients in my office every day. Not only do I check for ulcer formation but I also watch my patients walk to assess their balance, check for loss of foot sensation, check for corns and calluses, and other foot abnormalities such as bunions and hammertoes that can lead to ulcers. Now more than ever I pay close attention to their cognitive functioning as well.
Although it's been well known for some time that diabetes can affect the way we think and assess information, a new study out of Israel released earlier this year brought this issue home. Diabetic patients with and without foot ulcers (99 in both groups) were given special cognitive tests. Patients who developed foot ulcers were much more likely (p<.001) to have decreased cognitive abilities than those who did not.
Unfortunately when the needs of diabetic patients go up it's the exact time when their ability to manage those needs declines. Remembering to take medications, check their feet, and make appointments to see their podiatrist and other members of their health care team are all needed to prevent ulcers from getting worse leading to amputations.
What To Do
If you or a family member has foot ulcers due to diabetes it's essential that to see a podiatrist at least once a year to have a Comprehensive Diabetics Foot Exam. So a patient does not forget at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we schedule our patients right after their appointment. Most times patients will only need to come in once a year for this exam, but sometimes twice a year is necessary.
Write down everything your podiatrist or other members of your health care team tell you. Now you'll have a set of instructions that you can refer to and aren't depending on your memory to do so.
Eating healthy and exercising can be one of the biggest challenges for a person with diabetes. Both have an effect on your glucose levels and need to be brought into balance. Work with your primary care doctor, endocrinologist, and dietician to get the best advice on how to start exercising slowly and which foods will work for you.
Top 10 Tips for Diabetic Feet
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.
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Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.