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Why You Need a Podiatrist on Your Diabetes Wellness Team

If you have diabetes, you know it’s a complex disease that can have an impact on many different facets of your overall health. In order to successfully manage this disease and live a full, active life, you need a team approach to your health — and a podiatrist should certainly be a member of that team. 

Svetlana Malinsky, DPM, in College Park, Maryland, understands how diabetes can affect the health of your feet. Dr. Malinsky is also comfortable taking a team approach to help you manage your condition.

A common chronic disease

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases. In addition to the 30 million people who’ve already been diagnosed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 84 million more people have prediabetes. 

November is American Diabetes Month, and Dr. Malinsky is joining communities and health care providers across the country working to bring attention to this disease as well as how you can take care of yourself if you have diabetes.

This year, with the global pandemic, it’s more important than ever for diabetes patients to understand their risks and to maintain their health to the greatest degree possible. 

Why podiatry is important for diabetics

More than 100,000 people with diabetes undergo foot amputation each year, which is why it’s critical for you to see Dr. Malinsky regularly. A skilled podiatrist understands the warning signs and can help you keep your feet healthy. 

There are two important ways that diabetes impacts your feet. One of them is nerve damage, and the other is blood flow.

Nerve damage

When your glucose levels are high for a long time, it can cause damage to your nerves. This happens most often to the nerves in your feet. You may feel a tingling or pins-and-needles sensation, or your feet may become numb. 

When your feet are numb, you don’t perceive pain. It’s easier than you may imagine to cut or injure your foot and not know it. You may also develop a callus, corn, blister, or ingrown toenail and be unaware of it. 

Blood flow

Diabetes also affects your blood vessels, causing damage that decreases the blood flow to your feet and legs. Less blood flow means slower healing.  

The combination of potential injury and slower healing is the reason so many people with diabetes undergo amputation. Even something as simple as a blister from shoes that don’t fit quite right can lead to a large wound, infection, and eventually tissue loss. 

What you can do if you have diabetes

Having diabetes doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to have problems with your feet. By making sure Dr. Malinsky is part of your care team and developing some good habits, you can do quite a lot to protect your feet. 

Each day, you should carefully inspect your feet to be sure you haven’t developed any injuries. You should also wash, dry, and moisturize your feet daily. It’s entirely possible to develop an infection because your feet get dry and the skin cracks! 

You should also always wear shoes and socks, and your shoes need to fit properly. Dr. Malinsky may recommend orthotics, as well, depending on your situation.

If you have diabetes, schedule an appointment with Dr. Malinsky. She can provide advice tailored to your specific situation, answer any questions you may have, and address any concerns with your feet. Make Dr. Malinsky part of your diabetes care team and protect your foot health.

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