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Diabetes and your feet

img-diabetesFor our bodies to work properly we need to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. A hormone called insulin is essential for the conversion of glucose into energy. In people with diabetes, insulin is no longer produced or not produced in sufficient amounts by the body.

So when people with diabetes eat glucose, which is in foods such as breads, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, legumes, milk, yoghurt and sweets, it can’t be converted into energy. Instead of being turned into energy the glucose stays in the blood. This is why blood glucose levels are higher in people with diabetes.

Diabetes is a growing problem throughout Australia and the rest of the world. According to ‘Diabetes Australia’ there are now approximately 1.1 million Australians living with diabetes and around 100,000 new diagnoses each year (

If you have Diabetes or you know someone who does, it is extremely important to understand the disease process and manage it appropriately to prevent the onset of any complications. Foot care is particularly important if you have diabetes. Foot problems are a common complication of diabetes and most commonly your feet can be affected in two ways:

  • Decreased blood supply which can cause slower healing, higher risk of infections, cramps and other problems
  • Decreased nerve function known as peripheral neuropathy: this means that you may lose some or all feeling in your feet. People who have neuropathy are unable to feel if they have any cuts, blisters etc and therefore are unable to manage these.

These problems increase the risk of diabetes ulcers or infections which if left untreated may lead to amputations. There are over 85 diabetes related lower limb amputations in Australia per week and most of these are preventable. In most cases, poor blood supply or decreased nerve function cannot be reversed.

So what can you do to maintain your foot health prevent these problems?

If you are a diabetic, the best way to prevent the onset of problems is to check your blood sugar levels several times per day and keep these within a good range – usually between 5-7. This is something that you’re GP or Endocrinologist will discuss with you and they will prescribe the correct tablets or insulin if needed to assist. There are many different health professionals that can help with your understanding of diabetes including diabetes educators and dieticians.

To maintain good foot health, diabetes Australia recommends that people with diabetes have a foot health check at least once a year. There are numerous different tests that you podiatrist will do to check your vascular and neurological status. We will also check your skin, muscle strength and footwear and discuss any other foot problems you may be having. This way, we are able to determine if you are at low, moderate or high risk of developing diabetes related problems. If needed we will educate you on different strategies to look after your feet and answer any questions you may have.

Don’t forget – prevention is better than a cure! So, if you are diabetic make sure you come in and have a foot health check so that we can keep you on track to a healthy future. If you have diabetes you may be eligible for a medicare rebate (Allied Health Management Plan) for your podiatry appointment however this has to be arranged with your GP prior to your appointment.

Hope to see you soon,



We have HICAPS available in our clinic, which means that our patients can claim from their private health fund straight away

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Shop 2/17-19 East Parade
Sutherland, NSW 2232

Tel: 02 9542 3491