Diabetic Foot Care: Why Regular Podiatry Visits Are Essential for Every Diabetic

By Mrs Alaa Razak MChS, MSc, BSc (Hons), BSc (Ord), PhD
Musculoskeletal Podiatrist and Clinical Lead

What is Diabetic Foot?

Diabetic foot refers to the various foot problems that can occur in people with diabetes or high blood sugar levels. These problems often arise due to nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor circulation (peripheral arterial disease), which are common in diabetes.

Diabetic foot problems can appear as ulcers, infections, and deformities. Nerve damage from diabetic neuropathy can cause a loss of sensation in the feet, making it difficult to notice injuries or infections. Additionally, reduced blood flow can slow down the body’s healing process, making these issues more complicated.

To prevent serious complications like amputation and maintain overall health, proper foot care is crucial. This includes regular visits to a podiatrist and early intervention. By taking these steps, diabetic individuals can manage their foot health effectively.

Diabetic Foot Symptoms

Diabetic foot symptoms can vary depending on the stage and severity of the condition.

Common symptoms include:

  • Numbness or tingling: Diabetic neuropathy can cause a loss of sensation in the feet, leading to numbness or tingling sensations.
  • Pain or discomfort: Some individuals may experience pain or discomfort in the feet, often described as a burning or shooting pain.
  • Changes in skin colour or temperature: The skin on the feet may appear red, blue, or discoloured. The feet may also feel unusually warm or cold to the touch.
  • Swelling: Swelling in the feet and ankles can occur due to fluid retention, a common complication of diabetes.
  • Foot ulcers: Open sores or wounds on the feet that are slow to heal or do not heal properly can be a sign of diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Infections: Diabetic individuals are more prone to infections, which can manifest as redness, warmth, or drainage from the foot.
  • Foot deformities: Long-term uncontrolled diabetes can lead to foot deformities such as Charcot’s foot, where the bones in the foot weaken and fracture.

Diabetic Foot Treatment and Care

Effective management and prevention of complications in diabetic foot treatment and care require a collaborative effort between doctors (Private GPs) and podiatrists. Podiatrists are trained to identify early signs of foot problems in diabetics, such as nerve damage or poor circulation. Early detection enables prompt treatment and prevention of complications.

Why Are Podiatrists Essential for Diabetic Foot Care?

Regular visits to a podiatrist are essential for diabetics to maintain healthy feet and prevent serious complications. Here are some ways podiatrists can help:

  • Foot Exams: Podiatrists conduct regular foot exams to check for any issues such as nerve damage, poor circulation, or foot deformities.
  • Wound Care: Podiatrists provide specialised wound care to promote healing and prevent infection for diabetic foot ulcers or wounds.
  • Nail Care: Podiatrists can advise on how to trim your nails to prevent ingrown nails, which can lead to infections
  • Callus and Corn Management: Podiatrists can safely remove calluses and corns, reducing the risk of skin breakdown and ulcers.
  • Footwear Recommendations: Podiatrists can recommend suitable footwear to reduce pressure on the feet and prevent foot problems.
  • Orthotic Devices: Podiatrists can prescribe custom orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts, to relieve pressure on specific areas of the foot.
  • Education: Podiatrists educate diabetic patients on the importance of foot care and provide guidance on how to properly care for their feet.
  • Referrals: Podiatrists can refer patients to other healthcare providers for additional treatment or management of other diabetes-related complications.

By working closely with a podiatrist, individuals can ensure their feet receive the specialised care they need to stay healthy and active.



Can diabetic foot charcot be reversed?

Charcot foot, which is also known as Charcot arthropathy, is a severe condition that affects some people with diabetes. It is characterised by weakening of the bones in the foot, which can lead to fractures and joint dislocations.

While Charcot foot cannot be cured, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further damage and complications. Treatment typically involves immobilising the foot to allow the bones to heal, often with the use of a cast or brace. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or stabilise the affected joints.

After treatment, ongoing care is essential to prevent recurrence. This may include wearing special footwear or orthotic devices to support the foot and reduce pressure on affected areas. Regular monitoring by a healthcare provider, including foot exams and imaging studies, can help ensure that the condition is properly managed.

Overall, while Charcot foot cannot be cured, with prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment, it is possible to prevent further damage and maintain mobility and function in the affected foot.

Do diabetics get free foot care UK?

In the UK, people with diabetes can receive free foot care from the NHS if they meet specific criteria. However, private podiatrists and clinics can provide several benefits for diabetic foot care, despite the NHS offering free foot care services.

One significant advantage of private clinics is their shorter waiting times for appointments, which allows patients to receive timely care and prevent complications. Private practitioners also tend to have more time to spend with each patient, which leads to a more thorough examination, and a personalised treatment plan.

Furthermore, private clinics may offer access to a more comprehensive range of specialist services and treatments that may not be available through the NHS. Patients may also experience a more comfortable and personalised environment in private clinics, with amenities such as private waiting rooms and extended appointment times.

Moreover, private practitioners may offer more flexibility in treatment options, including access to newer technologies and therapies. Although the NHS provides excellent care, the benefits offered by private podiatrists and clinics make them a preferred choice for most people with diabetes.

How much does diabetic foot treatment cost?

A private consultation with our podiatrist in the UK costs £145, with follow-up appointments costing £80. Additional treatments such as wound care or orthotic devices may incur extra costs.

What are the important considerations for diabetic daily foot care?

Daily foot care is crucial for individuals living with diabetes to maintain healthy feet and prevent complications. It is essential to check your feet daily to detect any cuts, blisters, or sores. Keeping your feet clean and moisturised helps prevent dry skin. Wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes and avoiding walking barefoot is also important.

Managing your blood sugar levels using diet, exercise, and medication can prevent nerve damage and poor circulation, which can lead to foot problems. Regular visits to a podiatrist for foot exams and care are recommended to ensure early detection and treatment of any issues. By incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you can help protect your feet and maintain your overall health.

If you’re looking for personalised foot care advice, whether you’re managing diabetes or just want to ensure your feet stay in top condition, our expert podiatrist is here to help! Take the first step towards healthier feet today by scheduling a call with our clinic. Book your consultation now to start your journey to having happy, healthy feet!


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