Diabetic foot assessments are needed to assess a person who is living with diabetes their risk of infection. Infection is the number one root cause to diabetic amputations of the lower extremity.
Diabetes affects both the blood vessels and the nerves of the foot. Longstanding uncontrolled glucose levels make it harder for blood to fight off an active infection. It also causes the outer layer of the nerves to degenerate. The three types of nerves in the body are autonomic nerves, sensory nerves and motor nerves. Degeneration of the outer layer of these nerves will cause the nerves to not work properly and send altered signals.
Autonomic Nerves – The autonomic nerves is the nervous system which controls autonomic processes such as sweat glands and digestion. For diabetic patients whose blood glucose levels are high, the skin on the foot may become very dry because the sweat glands are no longer working properly. This will lead to cracks and fissures and becomes a portal of entry for infection.
Motor Nerves – The motor nerves control motion. Any movement of your foot is controlled by the motor nerves. For your foot to move, a signal must be sent through the motor nerves to the muscle to make it contract. If blood sugars are high for long periods, the damage to these nerves will cause the foot to be in a contracted position and the foot/toes become more “stiff”. Movement and flexibility may become very poor, and the change in the foot shape may cause abnormal pressures resulting in corns, callus, and wounds.
Sensory Nerves – The sensation of warmth or cold are caused by the signals transmitted by the sensory nerves. More importantly, these nerves also responsible for the sensation of pain. For diabetic patients, one of the most leading causes for infection, ulcers and amputations are due to the lack of sensation in their feet. These nerves slowly start degenerating which initially feels like numbness and tingling. It usually starts with the toes and moves up towards the ankle. Long standing uncontrolled blood glucose levels can ultimately damage the sensory nerves to the point where diabetic patients no longer have any feeling in their feet. This is a major issue because without the sensation of pain, you cannot tell if you stepped on a piece of glass or stubbed your toe, which could lead to infection and increase your chances of amputation.
What we do
When you come in for a diabetic assessment, we will assess sensation for all three types of nerves in your foot. We will also assess your risk factor for diabetic foot ulcers/infection. If needed, we can even perform diabetic foot care (trim nails, remove callus/corns) to decrease the chances of diabetic foot complications.
Many of our diabetic patients come in for treatment because they can no longer do their own foot care and would like a professional to monitor changes in their feet. Diabetic assessments should be done at least twice a year, and it is recommended for diabetic foot care to be performed every six to eight weeks.
Please feel free to book your appointment at our Whitby office, or Toronto Office. Now serving- Bowmanville, Courtice, Oshawa, Whitby, Brooklin, Ajax, Durham, Pickering, Scarborough, Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, Markham, Thornhill