Did you know that having diabetes means you’re at much greater risk of developing foot problems?
Walsall Healthcare has a specialist team dedicated to this area of care and is highlighting its work as part of Diabetes Week which runs until 14 June.
Dr Krishnasamy Senthil-Kumar, Ian Tarr, Lindsey Phillips and Alex Hadley make up this team which offers foot care to patients who have diabetic foot ulcers/infections and/or ischaemia which is a restriction in blood supply to tissues.
Specialist Podiatrist Lindsey said:
“We run a five day service of which half a day is a multi-disciplinary foot clinic in line with NICE Guidance. As podiatrists we offer:
- debridement/wound care
- specialist offloading methods such as footwear/boots
- dressing advice
- assess vascular and neurological status
- assess for infection and offer antibiotic therapy via a PGD or doctor’s prescription
- work closely with diabetes specialist nurses and diabetes consultants
- work closely with vascular team
- refer to diabetes therapies team for psychological input when required
“This is all done in outpatient clinics, ward visits and home visits. Our diabetes consultants who work closely with us assess diabetes control and offer overall medical management of the patient.”
Diabetic foot clinics have continued throughout the pandemic to stop patients being admitted into hospital with a foot infection.
Specialist Podiatrist Alex explained:
“Quite a few of our patients have been sceptical about coming to appointments so we have carried out phone advice or even seen them at home for care.”
When asked what they like most about their job Extended Scope Practitioner (Podiatrist) Ian said:
“Working as a team with multiple professions and offering patients a holistic treatment is really rewarding and to see amputation rates have reduced in Walsall just shows that this is working which is great.”
And on the other hand the most difficult part of the job is:
“Ensuring contact is made with all patients that require diabetic foot care.”
Diabetes Lead Consultant Dr Senthil-Kumar added:
“The earlier we see someone with a diabetic foot ulcer the better the outcome will most likely be so early referral is vital. Generally we can see a patient within 48 hours so please refer at first presentation of the wound.”
The team would like more people to know about how important feet are when it comes to diabetes.
“Check your feet at least once a day and see your GP/Practice Nurse for a referral to a Podiatrist at the first sign of any problems. A lot of self-care and prevention advice can be found on the Diabetes UK website.”