Free assessment helps diabetes volunteers take care of their feet and overall health

Published 19 August 2019
Eloise Fryer and Madison Zambelli Podiatry students Eloise Fryer and Madison Zambelli

Allied health students at Southern Cross University Health Clinic in Bilinga are putting the call out for people with diabetes to sign up to a free podiatry and exercise physiology clinic.

The free foot examinations and physical exercise review on the Gold Coast for people with diabetes will be run by third-year podiatry and exercise physiology students, supervised by industry professionals.

Podiatry student Madison Zambelli said it was important for people living with diabetes to know how to care for their feet and their health.

“At this appointment we are able to assess people’s feet to see how at risk they are of foot wounds and amputations and teach them how to care for and minimise damage to their feet,” she said.

“As allied health students it is good for us to have this real-world experience with patients with diabetes and we are able to write a letter back to each patient’s GP doctor to give an opinion on how their patient is, which is an important part of inter-professional collaboration.

“Appointments will take an hour and a half and will involve the foot examination, physical exercise review and education.”

According to Southern Cross University Podiatry lecturer Dr Alex Barwick each year there are 10,000 hospitalisations, 1000 deaths and 4400 amputations in Australia as a result of diabetes-related foot complications.

“Most amputations, which occur due to diabetes-related foot complications, are preventable, and there is a push towards preventative strategies such as foot screening and education for these populations,” Dr Barwick said.

“Podiatry students will use standardised foot screening tools to determine whether people have circulation issues, nerve damage or other foot problems as a result of their diabetes that put them at risk of getting foot wounds and infections. This type of screening is recommended annually for anyone with diabetes to prevent more severe complications.

“Meanwhile Exercise Physiology students will review and make recommendations for physical activity specific to diabetes.  This helps with the persons control of their blood sugar and reduces their likelihood of developing complications commonly associated with diabetes.

“Consultations are led by students studying towards a degree in Podiatry or Clinical Exercise Physiology, and overseen by an experienced Registered Podiatrist and Accredited Exercise Physiologist. A letter with results will be sent to referring health and medical professionals.”

A limited number of free assessments will be available as part of the diabetes clinic on Tuesdays from 8am to 11.30am on August 27th, September 3rd, 17th and 24th, at Southern Cross University Health Clinic on the Gold Coast campus, at Southern Cross Drive, Bilinga.

To register, call Southern Cross University Health Clinic Gold Coast on 07 5589 3252 or email

Ongoing student-led clinics in podiatry, exercise physiology, osteopathy and speech pathology are available to the general public for a small fee at the Gold Coast campus.

Media contact: Jessica Nelson 0417288794 or