I have been Diagnosed with Diabetes: Do I need to see a Podiatrist?

Howard Hewlett, DPM

H. Austin Hewlett DPM, FACFAS, QME

By Austin Hewlett, DPM, FACFAS, QME
Upperline Health, Orange

Upperline Health, Newport Beach

You have just seen your primary care physician and been told you have diabetes. What now? First, you are not alone. Each year over a million people are diagnosed with diabetes and here in Orange County, many of them are treated by the Podiatric Physicians at Upperline Health. Our podiatrists are committed to helping you not only understand how diabetes can impact your overall health but specifically how it can affect your feet and what you can do to prevent any problems.

Let’s start by looking how diabetes and your feet are directly linked. First, diabetes can decrease your ability to feel your feet, a condition known as neuropathy. Second, diabetes can negatively affect your circulation, a condition known as Peripheral Vascular Disease. Third, diabetes can alter the function of your immune system.

To better understand the correlation between the three, let’s consider the following scenario: a diabetic patient who has neuropathy and can’t feel their feet steps on something and develops a wound to the foot. However, because they cannot feel the foot, they are unaware there is a problem. The patient has no blood flow so the cells of the immune system can’t get to the wound to help fight the infection. Now the patient has a wound that won’t heal. This all-too-common scenario is what leads to amputations.

This does not have to be you. What can you do to make sure you maintain the health of your feet?

  1. Work closely with your Primary Care Physician or Endocrinologist
  2. Monitor your daily blood sugars
  3. Monitor your Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)
  4. Inspect your feet every night for wounds and sores
  5. Visit an Upperline Health Podiatrist. With over 130 clinics in seven states, you can search for a podiatrist near you at UpperlineHealth.com/find-location

What, specifically, should you look for, that would alert you that you need to see an Upperline Health podiatrist?

  1. A corn or callous to the skin of your foot (these often precede an ulcer or wound)
  2. An open wound or sore that won’t heal
  3. A toe that is turning red or any color that is not normal
  4. Pain to your foot
  5. Inability to feel your feet
  6. Cold feet
  7. Any question about your feet

While this list is certainly not all inclusive it is a good starting point and should be adhered to by all diabetics.

The next question most diabetics have is “how often should I see my Upperline podiatrist? As soon as you receive the diagnosis of Diabetes you should see an Upperline Health Podiatrist to establish a relationship and a base line for how your feet are doing. At minimum, you should be seen once a year, even if you have no complications from diabetes. If you suffer from any of the complications of diabetes including numbness, lack of blood flow, wounds or a previous amputation, you will need to be seen by your Upperline Podiatrist every 2-3 months.

Your diagnosis of diabetes should not be taken lightly, but you are not alone. Your Upperline Podiatrist is here to help guide you and help you maintain the health of your feet. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to make an appointment to see one of our Upperline Health podiatrists. Most of our offices offer same day appointments and most insurances are accepted.

Our team here at Upperline Health sincerely appreciates your trust in our ability to care for you, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

About Dr. H. Austin Hewlett

Dr. Hewlett is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. As well, he is the Sports Medicine Fellowship Director at the Specialty Surgical Center of Irvine.

Prior to his academic education, Dr. Hewlett spent four years traveling the world surfing and studying Viticulture in Australia. Following his return to the states, Dr. Hewlett graduated from the University of California San Diego before going on to Temple University for his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. After completing his Surgical training, he joined Cambridge Foot and Ankle Associates, Inc. and has been a partner there since 2005. He currently serves as Sports Medicine Fellowship Director at Specialty Surgical Center of Irvine as well as being a member of the Orthopedic Executive Committee at Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

Dr. Hewlett has been serving the Orange County community with compassion for 17 years. This coupled with constant education allows him to offer his patients the highest level of care available.

Please call our office at or visit us online to schedule your appointment. Dr. Hewlett and his staff look forward to meeting you.

Upperline Health – Orange
1038 East Chapman Avenue
Orange, California 92866
Schedule Online

Upperline Health – Newport Beach
2131 San Joaquin Hills Road
Newport Beach, California 92660
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