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Preventing diabetes-related foot disease

14 July 2022 Blog
Diabetes
During National Diabetes Week 2022, we’re spreading awareness of the impact of diabetes-related foot disease.

The importance of foot health 

Foot health is vital for people with diabetes. Foot disease is the leading cause of diabetes-related hospitalisations and amputations. More than 12,500 Australians have had a diabetes related amputation and an additional 12 undergo a diabetes related amputation each day.

Poor foot health can have long lasting impacts on quality of life, mobility and mortality, and result in an increased financial burden. 

Be proactive about your foot health

Prevention is the best way to combat diabetes-related foot diseases and avoid further complications, such as amputation or prolonged hospitalisation. Simple things you can do include (but are not limited to): 

  1. Check at-risk feet daily for signs of injury, or noticeable changes in sensitivity or appearance. 
  2. Inform your health professional of any pain, swelling, throbbing, temperature changes or changes to skin colouration.
  3. Wear appropriate footwear that fits and protects the foot.
  4. Educate not only yourself, but also friends and family.
  5. Book an annual foot assessment.
  6. If you have a foot ulcer or foot infection, seek urgent medical help and a referral to a multidisciplinary foot ulcer team. 

Multidisciplinary Complex Foot Service

St John of God Midland Public Hospital runs one of the only multidisciplinary complex foot services at a general hospital. The service provides people with foot ulcers, most often relating to diabetes, access to multidisciplinary review and management to ensure the optimal treatment outcomes.

Evidence-based care and best practice processes are undertaken to assist patients with avoiding hospitalisation, minimising impact and prevent further amputation.

The public clinic accepts referrals from GPs, medical specialists and community podiatrists.

 
St John of God Health Care Joanna Scheepers headshot
Joanna Scheepers - Manager of Podiatry and Coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Complex Foot Service

Jo is Manager of Podiatry and Coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Complex Foot Service at St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospitals.

This team provides expert care for patients with complex acute and chronic foot ulcerations, infections, peripheral vascular disease and amputations, most often as a result of diabetes. The team’s focus is to prevent amputations and avoidable admissions to hospital and help people to live their lives to the fullest.

Jo was involved in the development of Australian National Diabetic Foot Disease Guidelines 2021, National Interdisciplinary High Risk Foot Accreditation Standards and is a member of the WA High Risk Foot Research Group.

St John of God Health Care Joanna Scheepers headshot
Joanna Scheepers Manager of Podiatry and Coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Complex Foot Service