We offer virtual consultation to help patients whose physical limitations make travel to the clinic impossible
Dr. Jaspaul Riar
The Canadian Diabetes Association projects that by 2020, one in three Canadians will have diabetes, be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes. These numbers are startling, but what is more shocking is the number of foot amputations this is causing. In 2011-2012, Canadians suffered 2000 foot amputations due to diabetic wounds. This is particularly concerning for communities like the Lower Mainland, where there is a higher incidence of diabetes amongst the South Asian population.
It’s surprising to many people but even a small cut can produce limb-threatening consequences. Diabetes has the potential to cause nerve damage and reduce blood flow to your feet. Because of these issues, one may not notice a wound form on the foot and the reduced blood flow will make it harder to heal from such an injury. An infection or non-healing wound may develop that could place the foot at risk of amputation.
When we closely evaluate the economic impact of amputations it’s no surprise that prophylactic diabetic foot care is becoming more prevalent and the role of the podiatrist (foot specialist) in Canada is evolving. Integrated, multi-disciplinary care is paramount in the management of this widespread disease. Podiatrists help facilitate this care by working with local home health wound care staff and coordinating treatment with other specialists including vascular surgeons, nephrologists, endocrinologists and patients’ general practitioners.
To avoid serious foot problems that can result in limb loss it is best to get periodic foot exams by a licensed podiatrist. Seeing a podiatric foot specialist on a regular basis can help prevent complications from diabetes. Treatment will include education about foot care, appropriate shoe gear, offloading areas of increased pressure and caring for any wounds that a patient may have. Patients are also encouraged to look after their feet at home by avoiding walking barefoot, inspecting their feet daily, moisturizing the soles of the feet to lessen dry skin and fissure formation, and not smoking.
Guest post from Dr. Jaspaul Riar, BSc DPM
Podiatrist – http://www.drriar.com