Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to regulate a normal level of sugar in the blood because of an imbalance in the secretion, production of or use of the hormone that regulates blood sugars known as insulin. In the United Kingdom, it is estimated nearly 3 million people have diabetes and this figure is rising rapidly.
Foot problems in people with diabetes are common as the raised sugar levels in diabetes can affect the feet in two main pathways. Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) may cause symptoms of burning or tingling in the feet and can change the sensation felt in the feet. The second pathway is a change in how the blood is circulated to the feet through the arteries (peripheral vascular disease) which may impact the body’s ability to heal injuries. Additionally, raised sugar levels can make a person more susceptible to infection and this can also impair the body’s ability to heal an injury. Consequently, all these factors can place the foot at a high risk of trauma to the skin which may lead to an ulcer or impact the bones, placing the foot at risk of severe changes in shape or possible amputation.
The Diabetic Foot Clinic offers the following clinic types to provide holistic management of acute diabetes-related foot complications in an effort to reduce adverse lower limb outcomes. All new referrals will be triaged and reviewed by the consulting diabetes physician, podiatrists and nurses on their first assessment and directed to the appropriate clinic type for follow-up thereafter.