What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that places a heavy burden on the lives of patients and their families, psychologically and financially. In particular, if a person having diabetes for more than 10 years, lacks proper care and management of high blood sugar, may lead to serious foot complications such as foot ulcers and amputations.
Diabetic patients with chronic high blood glucose levels, if not controlled, will suffer from the following problems:
- Neuropathy: Patients are prone to sensory neuropathy, slow response of the sensory and thermal nerves, as well as autonomic neuropathy, which reduce perspiration and cause skin dryness that lead to cracking of skin. These factors tend to cause wounds and reduce the ability of healing tissues properly
- Slow blood circulation: High blood glucose levels would lead to arteriosclerosis, microvascular embolism and irregularities in cortical vascular flow, which can reduce the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the area and weaken the ability of healing tissues.
- Foot deformity: Motor neuropathy would cause imbalances in the muscles, which can lead to toe deformities. If the patient has foot deformity (e.g. flat feet, pronated feet, high arched feet), the pressure on the bottom of the foot is unevenly distributed and the skin is easily damaged
Once a wound appears on the foot, it is difficult to heal and an ulcer may develop. If the ulcer is not properly treated, it may lead to localized necrosis and may eventually lead to amputation.
- Foot loses protective sensation easily and the patient is unable to feel pain or changes in temperature
- Dry skin
- Wounds are more difficult to heal
- Reduced mobility and stiffness of the joints
- Regular foot checks: Diabetic patients should have their feet checked daily for blisters, calluses, corns or skin breakdown. A diabetic foot sensory filament (5.07/10g standard) can be used to test the foot for loss of protective sensation and plantar response
- Wearing appropriate footwear: Diabetic patients should take extra care in choosing footwear as they have poor sensation in the feet and their balance tends to be weakened. Patients should choose shoes with extra depth instep and toe box, a seamless design, soft or flexible uppers and rocker soles to reduce friction on the toes and redistribute pressure on the soles of the feet.
- Diabetic socks: Patients should choose seamless and non-binding diabetic socks that will not inhibit circulation. It is also important to check your socks regularly for tears and material irregularities.
- Prescription Custom Foot Orthoses: Orthoses that are designed and tailored to suit the individual’s needs. It corrects foot deformities, redistributes plantar foot pressure, stabilizes the foot and ankle. The diabetic custom foot orthoses use materials (e.g. Plastazote) to reduce friction on the foot and prevention of foot ulcers.
- Keeping the skin moist: Apply appropriate cream to improve the skin’s moisture and prevent skin.
- Promote blood circulation to prevent necrosis: one of the main problems of diabetic feet is the slowing down of blood circulation, which can lead to peripheral arterial embolism. It is recommended that patients use Veinoplus Arterial daily – a leg arterial blood stimulator to stimulate the deep calf muscles and increase blood flow into the arteries, thus increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the calves. This helps the foot to recover from the ulcer caused by the arterial embolism and helps the wound to heal faster.
- Monochromatic infrared therapy: Patients can use Anodyne Monochromatic infrared therapy, which uses specific infrared rays to cause red blood cells to release nitric oxide, a vasodilator and neurotransmitter that dramatically increases blood circulation and produces a pain-relieving effect, promoting blood vessel growth and helping to speed up wound healing.