Foot Screening for Diabetes

A diabetes foot screening takes approximately a ½ hour and when it is finished the podiatrist will be able to identify the level of risk for diabetic foot complications. In addition, if referral to another member of the diabetes care team is required it will be done. Because foot problems are one of the main complications of diabetes, the podiatrist is able to manage non-ulcerative problems and foot ulcers.

The podiatrist treats all skin and nail related foot problems. Treatment includes appropriate foot health advice, cutting of nails, reducing calluses, enucleating corns, measuring for a simple insole, moulding for a foot orthotic, or even an operation to remove an ingrown toenail – this is carried out under local anaesthetic, usually in the podiatrist’s rooms and you go home straight afterwards. The podiatrist may decide on referral to another health care professional, such as an orthopaedic surgeon or physiotherapist. 

Although most podiatrists will manage any patient who consults them, modern podiatry has seen the development of practitioners with special interests in particular foot problems, these include chronic diseases like arthritis and diabetes, sports injuries and children’s’ foot problems. Therefore it is a good idea to find out if the podiatrist has a special interest in your problem.

No referral is necessary to see a podiatrist, although many patients are referred by their health practitioner.


Andrew has taught at the University as well as providing podiatry services in South Africa since 1977. Twice chair of the Podiatry Association of South Africa and a commentator on care of your feet on both radio and television he now works in private practice in Cape Town and Hout Bay.