Add a Podiatrist to Your Diabetes Healthcare Team - dummies

Add a Podiatrist to Your Diabetes Healthcare Team

By American Diabetes Association

Podiatrists are doctors with specialized training to care for and treat foot problems. Podiatrists take care of corns, calluses, and foot sores to prevent more serious infections. A podiatrist can show you how to correctly trim your toenails and take care of your feet daily. They can prescribe and fit you for specialized shoes to make walking and exercising more comfortable.

You may need a podiatrist on your healthcare team because people with diabetes often have poor circulation to their feet and nerve damage. This can make it difficult to feel cuts and sores, so you may not even know you have an infection until it’s gotten much worse.

Even though you’ll be doing tasks at home to keep your feet healthy, such as checking them daily for infections or sores, problems may arise that require the care of a specialist.

Don’t ignore or try to treat foot problems on your own. Call your diabetes care provider or podiatrist if you have

  • Changes in feeling such as pain, tingling, numbness, or burning
  • A puncture wound from stepping on a nail or thorn
  • An open sore (called an ulcer)
  • A cut or sore that isn’t healing
  • An infection in a cut or blister
  • A red, tender toe

Also, your diabetes care provider will check out your feet during a physical exam. It’s part of your routine evaluation, so take off those socks and shoes when you walk in the room for your appointment. That way, you’ll both remember to check your feet and talk about any problems or pain.

You can ask for a referral to a podiatrist if you have more severe foot problems that your diabetes care provider doesn’t feel comfortable treating.

Podiatrists receive a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) from a college of podiatry. They gain expertise by doing residence training in podiatry and train to perform surgery and prescribe medication for your feet.