I am a member of the Clare Type 1 Diabetes Support group and our guest speaker last month is a podiatrist from the local health centre (Thank you, Doireann). I know that most people with diabetes already know the basics of taking care of your feet, especially if you have been around diabetes for a couple of decades. But I decided to post about our meeting because the pathway to podiatry care for people with diabetes has changed a little in recent years and that is worth sharing this information (IMO).
But I have included an article which, coincidently, was published online the same week as our meeting, and contains some of the basics to lead up to the local information, if you would like a reminder as to why it's soooo important to look after feet.
How to access Diabetic Foot Care?
Your very first foot screening with your podiatrist will assess you and place your feet in one of three categories; Low, Moderate or High risk.
If you are low risk, you may be referred back to your GP’s surgery for your annual foot exam. If this is the case then it will be your responsibility to schedule this. If you are referred to your GP, it’s really important that you keep a record of when your last foot check was and when to schedule your next one.
If you are Moderate or high risk of diabetes foot disease then you will probably continue to be seen in the Diabetic Foot Clinic, where they will send out your appointment to you in the post.
However, there are instances where the clinics fall behind in their appointments and it would be wise if you kept a record of when your last foot exam was and when your next one should be.
You can find more information from the HSE's Model of Care for the Diabetic Foot document, which was revised in October 2014.
At our meeting some people pointed out that their feet are checked at their regular diabetes clinic appointment.
While this is a good "spot check", if your foot check does not include a test using a tuning fork and a Monofilament tool, it is NOT a full foot exam.
Everybody with diabetes in Ireland should have a foot check by a podiatrist, children included, every year.
At your annual foot exam your healthcare professional will;
- Look at your feet for signs of problems, especially if you have nerve damage
- Test the sense of feeling in your feet using a Monofilament tool.
- Test how well blood is flowing to your legs and feet
- Show you how to care for your feet
Here's to Happy Feet!