Why You Should Be Seeing a Podiatrist If You Have Diabetes
BY HANNAH ROPP
Diabetes is a complex condition and can affect almost every part of your body, and your feet are no exception. Podiatrist Samantha Newstadt, DPM, with Coordinated Health, part of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), outlines why it’s so important to take care of your feet if you have diabetes.
Why people with diabetes should keep a close eye on their feet
According to Newstadt, many people who have diabetes develop some degree of neuropathy or nerve damage in their legs or feet, which causes a loss of sensation. “When this happens, you have a higher risk for being injured without knowing. If left untreated, even small injuries can progress into something more significant,” she says.
Newstadt says another reason that people who have diabetes are more susceptible to issues with their feet is because many have some element of vascular disease in their lower extremity, which also can contribute to complications.
What you can do to prevent diabetes–related foot conditions
The good news is that there is plenty you can do to prevent diabetes–related foot conditions, starting with seeing a podiatrist. “If you have diabetes, it’s important to be established with a podiatrist and see them regularly. A podiatrist can evaluate any changes in your vascular health or for the development of neuropathy,” she says.
She also recommends checking your feet daily for any breaks in the skin or changes. In addition, she says she discourages her patients from walking barefoot. If you don’t want to wear shoes or slippers, she suggests wearing white socks so that if there is a break in the skin, it would be more noticeable.
Finally, Newstadt urges caution when it comes to clipping your toenails. If you do suffer from neuropathy, she says you may not notice a small cut that can turn into something more if you aren’t careful. In fact, she has many patients who come in for regular toenail clippings.
For more information about Newstadt and the services she offers, visit LVHN.org/SMNewstadt.