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Why Do You Have To Have Your Feet Checked When You Have Diabetes?

Does Medicare Cover Diabetic Foot Exams Or Podiatry Services?

Does Medicare Cover Diabetic Foot Exams Or Podiatry Services?

| Licensed since 2012 Print If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), you may be eligible for coverage of regular foot exams and diabetic foot care, subject to certain requirements. Read on to learn more about your benefits. Why do I need a diabetic foot exam? According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes develop a form of diabetic neuropathy, which is a type of nerve disorder caused by diabetes. The most common type of diabetic neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy, which may cause pain or loss of sensation in the toes, feet, legs, hands, or arms. Long-term exposure to the metabolic effects of high blood sugar may cause damage to the nerves, often concentrated in the toes, feet, and legs. This nerve damage may cause numbness, tingling, foot deformities such as hammertoes, and may even change the way a person walks. As a result, blisters and sores often develop on pressure points and may go unnoticed due to loss of sensation in the feet and toes. If these sores aren’t treated promptly, infections may develop and can lead to gangrene. If treatments don’t work, amputation may be required to prevent life-threatening complications. A diabetic foot exam by a podiatrist or provider certified in foot care can detect potential problems before they occur or develop into more serious conditions. According to the NIDDK, during a diabetic foot exam, your health-care provider will: Carefully inspect the feet for cracks, sores, signs of infection, and bony deformities. Test the feet for signs of nerve damage. Test blood flow to the feet and legs. Trim your toenails if you can’t trim your own. Show you how to care for your feet and m Continue reading >>

Diabetic Foot Overview

Diabetic Foot Overview

People with diabetes are at risk for developing foot problems that potentially can be severe. All people with diabetes should make sure to monitor their feet regularly. With a diabetic foot, minor injuries can become major emergencies. A wound as small as a blister from wearing a shoe that's too tight can cause a lot of damage. Diabetes may also decrease your blood flow, so your injuries can be slow to heal, putting you at higher risk for infection. As a diabetic, your infection may spread quickly, and if you have any loss of sensation (neuropathy) you may not recognize that the problem is getting worse. If you have diabetes, inspect your feet every day: ​Look for puncture wounds, bruises, pressure areas, redness, warmth, blisters, ulcers, scratches, cuts and nail problems. Get someone to help you, or use a mirror. Feel each foot for swelling. Examine between your toes. Check six major locations on the bottom of each foot: tip of the big toe, base of the little toes, base of the middle toes, heel, outside edge of the foot and across the ball of the foot. Check for sensation in each foot. If you find any injury -- no matter how slight -- don't try to treat it yourself. Go to a medical doctor right away. Wash your feet every day with mild soap and warm water. Test the water temperature with your hand first. Don't soak your feet. When drying them, pat each foot with a towel and be careful between your toes. Use quality lotion to keep the skin of your feet soft and moist -- but don't put any lotion between your toes. Trim your toe nails straight across. Avoid cutting the corners. Use a nail file or emery board. If you find an ingrown toenail, see your doctor. Don't use antiseptic solutions, drugstore medications, heating pads, or sharp instruments on your feet. Always kee Continue reading >>

How To Take Care Of Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

How To Take Care Of Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

de la Cruz, Gloria J. RN; Valente, Sharon RN, PhD; Brosnan, Joan RN, PhD IF YOU HAVE DIABETES, you could also have foot problems, including sores that won't heal. These can lead to dangerous infections and even amputation. Here's how to protect your feet and prevent serious problems. Why does diabetes hurt my feet? Diabetes can damage blood vessels, so your feet might not get the supply of blood they need for health and healing. And because diabetes can also damage nerves, you may not feel the pain or irritation that would normally warn you of a sore. If you have diabetes, you might not feel simple things that can hurt your feet, such as lumpy socks or shoes that are too tight. Irritation that goes on day after day can cause a sore that may become infected and that won't heal easily. How your health care provider can help The American Diabetes Association recommends that you have your feet examined at least once a year—more often if you have risk factors for foot problems, such as: being a man being older than 40 having diabetes for 10 years or more having poor blood surgar control smoking being overweight using alcohol more than twice a week or drinking too much having poor circulation having heart, eye, or kidney problems. When you see your health care provider for checkups, always take off your shoes and socks—even if she forgets to ask you. This will remind her to check your feet every time. Your health care provider may use a thin wire called a monofilament to test for loss of feeling (neuropathy) in your feet, especially on the soles of your feet. She'll brush this wire against your foot while you're not looking and ask you to tell her if you feel anything. If you have neuropathy, she'll use this test to check your feet at every visit. At home, you can test yo Continue reading >>

Diabetes And The Feet

Diabetes And The Feet

Foot care is an ongoing issue for diabetics. Avoiding foot problems, dealing with minor issues before they become major, and preventing serious infections that could lead to amputation, are all concerns. For all the recent progress in wound care and intervention, prevention is still the best place to begin. Diabetes, over a period of time, can cause circulatory damage and neuropathy, both of which can affect condition of the feet. Because of impaired circulation, the body's ability to heal itself is diminished. Minor traumas, that might otherwise heal quickly, persist and can become infected. Diabetic neuropathy, nerve damage, can impair an individual's ability to detect foot problems. Because it doesn't hurt, you don't intervene, and small problems escalate into big ones. The best place to start is with your shoes and socks. Proper fit is essential! Do not compromise--you have too much to lose. Make sure the shoe is wide enough, and don't let it pinch your toes. Shoes that "breathe," (either leather or running shoes) are best. Avoid sandals, especially those with a thong between the toes. Socks should be seamless, athletic type, of cotton or one of the new fibers like "Thorlo". Before putting your shoes on (and after you take them off), inspect your feet. You are looking for anything out of the ordinary, anything that might escalate from irritant into infection. Be thorough! Blisters, bunions, corns, splinters, raw or discolored patches, ingrown toenails, even "athlete's foot" fungus can require action. Don't assume it will go away by itself! When in doubt, consult your podiatrist. Sight is not necessary to carry out daily foot inspections. Much can be revealed by feel and smell. You are looking for change, anything that shouldn't be there, or that wasn't there before. Continue reading >>

How To Avoid Amputations If You Have Diabetes

How To Avoid Amputations If You Have Diabetes

In people with diabetes, a trifecta of trouble can set the stage for amputations: Numbness in the feet due to diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) can make people less aware of injuries and foot ulcers. These ulcers may fail to heal, which can in turn lead to serious infections. "Normally a person with an injury on the bottom of their foot, such as a blister, will change the way they walk. Your gait will alter because you are going to protect that blistered spot until it heals up," says Joseph LeMaster, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Medicine. "People with a loss of sensation don't do that. They will just walk right on top of that blister as though it wasn't there. It can burst, become infected, and turn into what we call a foot ulcer," he says. "That ulceration can go right down to the bone and become an avenue for infection into the whole foot. That's what leads to amputations." Foot injuries are the most common cause of hospitalizations About 15% of all diabetics will develop a foot ulcer at some point and up to 24% of people with a foot ulcer need an amputation. You're at extra-high risk if you're black, Hispanic, or Native American. These minority populations are two to three times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites, and their rates of amputations are higher. "It's the most common reason that someone's going to be hospitalized with diabetesnot for high blood sugar or a heart attack or a stroke," says David G. Armstrong, DPM, a specialist in diabetic foot disease at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago. "It's for a hole in the foot, a wound." About a year ago, Dr. Armstrong treated a 59-year-old man with type 2 diabetes who had been working out at a local health club; 12 Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Foot Problems

Diabetes And Foot Problems

Foot problems are common in people with diabetes. You might be afraid you’ll lose a toe, foot, or leg to diabetes, or know someone who has, but you can lower your chances of having diabetes-related foot problems by taking care of your feet every day. Managing your blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar, can also help keep your feet healthy. How can diabetes affect my feet? Over time, diabetes may cause nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy, that can cause tingling and pain, and can make you lose feeling in your feet. When you lose feeling in your feet, you may not feel a pebble inside your sock or a blister on your foot, which can lead to cuts and sores. Cuts and sores can become infected. Diabetes also can lower the amount of blood flow in your feet. Not having enough blood flowing to your legs and feet can make it hard for a sore or an infection to heal. Sometimes, a bad infection never heals. The infection might lead to gangrene. Gangrene and foot ulcers that do not get better with treatment can lead to an amputation of your toe, foot, or part of your leg. A surgeon may perform an amputation to prevent a bad infection from spreading to the rest of your body, and to save your life. Good foot care is very important to prevent serious infections and gangrene. Although rare, nerve damage from diabetes can lead to changes in the shape of your feet, such as Charcot’s foot. Charcot’s foot may start with redness, warmth, and swelling. Later, bones in your feet and toes can shift or break, which can cause your feet to have an odd shape, such as a “rocker bottom.” What can I do to keep my feet healthy? Work with your health care team to make a diabetes self-care plan, which is an action plan for how you will manage your diabetes. Your plan should inclu Continue reading >>

Foot Care

Foot Care

When you have diabetes you need to take care of your feet every day Having diabetes can increase your risk of foot ulcers and amputations Daily care can prevent serious complications Check your feet daily for changes or problems Visit a podiatrist annually for a check up or more frequently if your feet are at high risk Your feet are at risk because diabetes can cause damage to the nerves in your feet, blood circulation and infection. Having diabetes can increase your risk of foot ulcers and amputations. This damage is more likely if: You have had diabetes for a long time Your blood glucose levels have been too high for an extended period You smoke – smoking causes a reduced blood flow to your feet, wounds heal slowly You are inactive. It's important to check your feet every day. If you see any of the following- get medical treatment that *day * Ulcer Unusual swelling Redness Blisters Ingrown nail Bruising or cuts If you see any of the following- get medical treatment within 7 days Broken skin between toes Callus Corn Foot shape changes Cracked skin Nail colour changes Poor blood glucose control can cause nerve damage to feet. Symptoms include: Numbness Coldness of the legs A tingling, pins and needles sensation in the feet Burning pains in the legs and feet, usually more noticeable in bed at night. These symptoms can result in a loss of sensation in the feet which increases the risk of accidental damage because you can’t feel any pain. An injury to the feet can develop into an ulcer on the bottom of a foot which can penetrate to the bone. This could lead to infection of the bone (osteomyelitis) and a chronic infection in the bones and joints. If an infection isn’t treated at the earliest signs, this could result in ulceration (an infected open sore) and eventually Continue reading >>

Type 2 Diabetes - Doing This Test Could Protect You From Severe Complications

Type 2 Diabetes - Doing This Test Could Protect You From Severe Complications

People with diabetes have a much greater risk of developing problems with their feet, due to the damage raised blood sugars can cause to sensation and circulation. This can lead to amputation as a result of incurable foot ulcers. People with diabetes can have their feet checked every year by experts - but according to the National Diabetes Audit 2015-16, nearly compared to one in ten across England are missing out on the check up. Figures have shown nearly one in six people with Type 2 diabetes in Somerset are missing out on this essential check-up - 15.8 per cent. As well as annual check up, people should also perform the touch toes test to make sure their feet are still sensitive. Diabetes UK said: “The test simply involves very lightly touching six toes, three on each foot as shown to find out how many of the touches are felt. Importantly the touch must be gentle, light as a feather and brief - do not press, prod or poke tap or stroke the skin.” The charity has a step-by-step guide of how to check the toes and how to record the results. It said: “In the case of feet, pain could be due to a burn, blister or cut and because you feel it you can take prompt action and appropriate treatment. “If sensation is impaired you may not realise if minor damage has occurred and left unknown and untreated the risk of infection is increased. Fri, August 19, 2016 Diabetes is a common life-long health condition. There are 3.5 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and an estimated 500,000 who are living undiagnosed with the condition. “Infections and ulcers are also painful – but not if that part of the foot also lacks sensation. Knowing if you have impaired sensitivity requires you to rely more on regular visual checking for discolouration or swelling for instan Continue reading >>

Caring For Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

Caring For Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

Treating your feet like crown jewels may sound a bit wacky, but they’re worth it. Diabetes affects both the feeling in and the blood flow to your feet, which makes it easy for problems to sneak up. And foot problems, annoying enough by themselves, are just a step away from bigger problems. “People who have uncontrolled diabetes can develop neuropathy,” says Bonnie W. Greenwald, MD, Chief of Endocrinology at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York, “which causes a lack of sensation, including pressure and temperature sensations.” Neuropathy can also affect the functioning of your foot muscles; your feet may lose proper alignment, or you may put abnormal pressure on certain areas of your feet when you walk. David Kerr, MD, Director of Research and Innovation at William Sansum Diabetes Center in Santa Barbara, California, says neuropathy, or nerve damage, affects at least 30% to 40% of people with diabetes. Unfortunately, neuropathy can be prevented or stopped only with good control of blood sugar. “People with diabetes can also develop peripheral artery disease (PAD), or poor flood flow, which additionally puts them at risk for foot ulcers,” says Greenwald. Poor blood flow makes it harder for the body to heal, which increases the risk for skin ulcers and gangrene, or tissue death. PAD affects about 20% of people age 55 and older, and according to the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center, people with diabetes have two to four times the risk of developing the condition compared to those without diabetes. PAD has no direct treatment except preventive measures such as controlling blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, and quitting smoking. In some cases, a doctor can perform an angioplasty, a surgery that widens a narrowed artery, Continue reading >>

Patient Education: Nerve Damage Caused By Diabetes (the Basics)

Patient Education: Nerve Damage Caused By Diabetes (the Basics)

The content on the UpToDate website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. The use of this website is governed by the UpToDate Terms of Use ©2017 UpToDate, Inc. All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete. Can diabetes cause nerve damage? — Yes. People with diabetes (sometimes called "diabetes mellitus") can get nerve damage if they have high blood sugar levels for a long time. Another word for nerve damage is "neuropathy." People with diabetes can get different types of nerve damage. This article covers the most common type of nerve damage caused by diabetes. What are the symptoms of nerve damage caused by diabetes? — Nerve damage usually affects the toes and feet first. Some people do not feel any symptoms, but other people can have symptoms that include: Numbness or loss of feeling Burning or pain, which is often worse at rest or at night Feeling light touches as bothersome or painful As nerve damage gets worse, symptoms can move from the feet up the legs. Some people might also start to feel symptoms in their hands. Is there a test for nerve damage caused by diabetes? — Yes. Your doctor can usually tell if you have nerve damage by talking with you and doing an exam. Sometimes, a doctor will do a test to check how well a person's nerves are working. This test is called "electromyography." How does nerve damage lead to problems? — Nerve damage can lead to problems because it can make people unable to feel pain in their feet. Normally, people feel pain when they get a cut on their foot. The pain tells them that they need Continue reading >>

What Happens At Your Foot Check

What Happens At Your Foot Check

If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have serious foot problems and these can lead to amputations. Diabetes leads to over 160 amputations in the UK each week. In most cases serious foot problems can be prevented. You can do this by checking your feet yourself every day, and having a foot check at least once a year that’s arranged by your GP practice. Everyone with diabetes has the right to an annual foot check, so make sure you get to yours – even if you’ve been referred to a specialist or clinic. It will usually be at your GP surgery as part of your annual diabetes review. You’ll need to take off any dressings and footwear, including socks and tights. Your feet will be examined. Numbness or changes in sensation (also known as neuropathy) will be tested with a special piece of equipment. They’ll also check your shoes to make sure they’re not causing any problems. You’ll also be asked lots of questions about your feet and how you manage your diabetes. Such as: Have you had any problems or noticed any changes like cuts, blisters, broken skin, corns? Have you ever had any foot problems or wounds? Have you had any pain or discomfort? How often do you check your feet? Do you have any cramp-like pains when walking? How well are you managing your diabetes? Your risk of a foot problem The healthcare professional will tell you your results and your risk level of foot problems. These include: Low – no risk, or a callus without any other problem. Moderate – one or more signs of foot problems such as a loss of sensation or a change in foot shape. High – one or more signs of foot problems such as a loss of sensation, or even previous a previous ulcer or amputation. Active – highly serious foot complications such as a spreading infection or ulcer. You Continue reading >>

Diabetic Foot Assessments

Diabetic Foot Assessments

Do you have diabetes, Type 1 (insulin dependant) or Type 2 (diet or tablet controlled)? Do you worry about your feet and how to look after them properly, or are you waiting long periods of time between NHS podiatry appointments? Don't worry, we can help you! If you, or a family member, have diabetes it is always a great idea to have your feet checked on a regular basis to ensure that they remain healthy and problem free. The podiatrist will assess the blood flow to your feet, test nerves to diagnose any sensory impairment and offer treatment and advice for common foot problems. If you are diabetic, here's some good advice to keep your feet healthy: Check your feet daily A quick but thorough foot check takes a few minutes and will help you identify any breaks in the skin which may lead to infection, blisters, colour changes or rub marks from footwear. Wash your feet each day You need to keep your feet clean whether you are diabetic or not! You can do this whilst bathing or showering and you can incorporate your foot check into this routine at the same time. Dry well between your toes and avoid using talcum powder as this can sit in the spaces between the toes and absorb water, turning it to a sticky paste. Yuck! Moisturise your feet This isn't just for the ladies! Dry skin is like a dried out leaf, it cracks easily and where there's a crack germs and bacteria can get in, leading to infection. Do choose a moisturiser such as CCS Footcare Cream which not only moisturises, but also contains an ingredient called urea. Urea softens the skin too, helping problems like cracked heels. This is the moisturiser of choice at Melton Podiatry; we've tried and tested it and think it does a great job! Toenails Toenails just keep growing! If you have no problems with reduced blood flow t Continue reading >>

How To Look After Your Feet

How To Look After Your Feet

Your feet are important especially if you have diabetes. With diabetes, it means you’re much more likely to develop problems with your feet – problems that could end up as amputations. But most amputations can be prevented – four out of five in fact. If you take good care of your feet and check them regularly, you can reduce your risk of developing foot problems. So watch our video and take a look through our simple steps to having healthy feet every day . Need some help checking your feet? Watch our video to learn how. Simple steps to prevent foot problems If you want a few pointers on looking after your feet, then take our simple steps to healthy feet: Tips for everyday foot care Looking after your feet on a daily basis can be tough especially if you’ve lost any sensation in them. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to speak to your healthcare team as you may need help from a podiatrist. We’ve put together some everyday tips which should help you keep your feet in check. A trained professional should check your bare feet once a year. It’s a good chance to check anything you might have spotted with them yourself. But don’t wait a whole year to ask them. If you notice a problem – get it seen as soon as you can. Once you’ve had your annual foot check, you need to find out your risk of developing a serious foot problem. If you’re moderate or high risk, your healthcare professional should explain exactly what this means. They’ll also tell you if you need to see a foot specialist. Feel free to ask them questions. The more you know, the more you can keep an eye on any changes in your feet. Because of your diabetes, foot problems can get worse quickly. That’s why we’ve got some guidance on what signs to look out for when you check your feet. Whet Continue reading >>

Why Is Foot Care Important When I Have Diabetes?

Why Is Foot Care Important When I Have Diabetes?

Having diabetes increases your risk for foot sores, infections, and injury. The problems can range from minor sores to permanent damage to the foot. Sometimes foot problems can get so bad that the foot or even the leg may have to be amputated. It’s important to learn how to care for your feet and legs to lower the risk of infection and prevent the possible loss of your foot or leg. What is the cause of foot problems? When you have diabetes, you may develop poor blood flow to your feet. This makes it harder for your feet to fight infections and heal from injuries. As a result, infections and sores on your feet are more likely to become serious. Without treatment, severe infections can cause the flesh of your foot to die (gangrene). People who have diabetes are much more likely to have gangrene in the foot than people who do not have diabetes. Because diabetes damages nerve endings (a problem called neuropathy), you may not feel pain if you hurt your foot or get an infection. This can make it hard for you to know when your foot needs medical treatment. This is why it’s so important for you to check your feet every day. What are the symptoms of a foot problem? The first symptoms of an injury or infection may be swelling or redness. Another possible symptom is pain, but often people who have had diabetes for awhile cannot feel pain in the foot. Sores may appear on the skin of your foot. They may heal but later come back in the same place. If the sores are not treated, the flesh may die and turn black. Or the infection may spread. If the infection spreads to the blood, it can be fatal. How are foot problems diagnosed? Your healthcare provider will suspect that you are developing a sore if there is an area of redness or a blister on your foot. Most often sores are on the Continue reading >>

Diabetes Questions: How Do Blood Sugar Levels Affect Your Feet?

Diabetes Questions: How Do Blood Sugar Levels Affect Your Feet?

When it comes to managing your blood glucose, keep in mind the whole-body effects of high blood glucose levels. For individuals with diabetes, continued exposure to high blood glucose can result in serious complications, including foot problems. When the body is exposed to these high levels, over time the nerves in the body can become damaged. When the nerves in the body become damaged, this can result in neuropathy or specifically diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In fact, about 60% to 70% of all people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy, but today we’re going to focus on diabetic neuropathy because it is the most common type and it impacts your feet. What is diabetic peripheral neuropathy? Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve disorder that impacts a person’s legs, feet, toes, hands, and arms. Over time, a variety of factors can cause nerve damage in the body, resulting in sensations of numbness and pain in parts of the body. You may experience pain, tingling, or total loss of feeling in your extremities. What parts of the body does peripheral neuropathy affect? Peripheral neuropathy impacts a person’s toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms. Diabetic neuropathy affects the longest nerves first, that’s why the extremities of the body are affected, usually starting with the toes and feet. Keep in mind, this is a person-specific condition, and everyone will experience symptoms differently. What are the long term complications of diabetic peripheral neuropathy? Like all things pertaining to health, nerve damage has different symptoms and complications for different people. However, when you have diabetic peripheral neuropathy, you have an increased risk of foot ulcers and amputation. This typically happens, because when you lose sensation in your feet Continue reading >>

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