What is important about diabetes and the feet?
Patients suffering from diabetes are more susceptible to foot problems, such as toenail fungus, infections and wounds that do not heal normally. When left ignored, these issues can result in longterm complications, including amputation. Diabetes affects the entire body, and specifically it can decrease leg circulation (peripheral vascular disease) and damage nerves of the feet (peripheral neuropathy), which is why having great foot care is important. Therefore, you’ll want someone who is keen on understanding the needs of patients with diabetes.
With her personal approach and professional background, Dr. Tea is here to make sure your feet are in great shape and that your feet keeps you going. Dr. Tea is the only fellowship-trained wound specialist in Santa Cruz County and is the only podiatrist at the Monterey Wound Center (located inside Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula). No one else between Santa Cruz and Monterey County claims this distinction.
If you were recently diagnosed with diabetes or never had your feet evaluated, it is important that a foot and ankle specialist perform a comprehensive diabetic foot exam at least once a year. Research has shown that yearly visits to the podiatrist can decrease the risk of lower limb amputations by 80%.*
What does Dr. Tea look for when evaluating your feet:
- The quality of circulation in the feet. This includes looking at the skin for abnormal color, temperature differences, presence or absence of hair and swelling of the ankles. If circulation appears compromised, she will refer you to a vascular specialist, who she works with closely to get your feet in optimum shape.
- The shape of your feet (bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, etc) and any pressure points that may lead to skin break down. Pressure points tend to develop a callus, which is the body’s natural way of protecting itself from abnormal pressure. Calluses that are allowed to thicken overtime will lead to skin breakdown underneath. This is how infection can develop. Dr. Tea will prescribe specialized diabetic shoes and custom inserts to prevent this problem from worsening. She will also shave down calluses so that this doesn’t happen to you.
- Determine whether or not you have peripheral neuropathy. Diabetes can damage the nerves and result in numbness or burning sensation to the feet. Having neuropathy in the feet makes it difficult for the person to know whether or not a cut has developed or if an infection is brewing. Regular foot checks are important to prevent this kind of complication.
- Diagnosing and treating other conditions, including toenail fungus, ingrown nails, warts, and Athlete’s foot. If left untreated, these issues can spread.
- Determine if surgery is necessary. Patients with diabetes have an increase chance of developing surgical complications, such as wounds that do not heal and infections.
- Dr. Tea offers minimally invasive procedures, including tendon releases of hammertoes, endoscopic plantar fascia release for heel pain, and ankle arthroscopy for ankle pain. She also performs prophylactic surgeries to prevent wounds from developing.
- For chronic nonhealing wounds, she uses modern technology such a negative pressure wound therapy, grafts and performs plastic surgery techniques (flaps) to get your wounds to heal faster. As a foot and ankle wound specialist, Dr. Tea is dedicated to the successful outcome of your surgeries.
A Brief Overview of What Dr. Tea Provides
- Preventive Care
- Diagnosis and Treatment of Foot & Ankle Issues
- Nail Trimming/Debridements
- Callus Reduction
- Nerve treatments
- Advanced Wound Care
- Custom Orthotics
- Preventive and Curative Surgery