Diabetes and Feet
Diabetes and Feet
If you have diabetes, it is recommended that you have a foot examination at least once a year. Your Podiatrist will be able to assess the blood supply and nerve status of your feet, check for any problems, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan if necessary.
The effects of diabetes are that it reduces the circulation to your feet, can cause neuropathy (diminished sensitivity, loss of feeling), impairs your ability to heal, and makes you more susceptible to infection. These can easily result in serious foot problems without you even realising.
Daily foot checks
As a diabetic it is important to check your feet daily, as you may not be able to feel extreme temperatures and pain. Therefore, do not assume your feet are healthy if you don’t feel any problems.
Warning signs in legs or feet:
- Warmer than usual
- Blood or discharge
Home Footcare Tips
- Examine feet daily, as described. If this is difficult ask someone to assist or look into a mirror to see underneath feet.
- Wash feet daily using tepid water and mild soap. Check temperature of bath to avoid scalding feet. Hands can also be affected by neuropathy, so check with elbow.
- Dry carefully, especially between toes.
- Change socks and hosiery daily.
- Wear white or light coloured socks (never black or dark) in case you do stand on something sharp and you can’t feel, the blood will show through.
- Apply moisturiser daily, except between toes, to keep skin supple and prevent cracking. This is moisturising for medical reasons, to prevent a portal of entry for infection – which could lead to amputation.
- If the skin between your toes gets too moist, apply either witch hazel or surgical spirit.
- Always ensure shoes fit correctly. Have feet measured and wear shoes with a fastening such as lace-up or Velcro to prevent rubbing.
- Never walk barefoot or wear sandals, as these expose feet to injury.
- Check inside shoes for sharp objects.
- Do not use corn plasters or verruca treatments.
- Do not use sharp instruments on corns or hard skin.
- Do not use hot water bottles and avoid direct heat (neuropathy makes these risky).
- Cover any breaks in skin with dry sterile dressing and do not burst blisters, this can introduce infection.
WARNING! If you notice anything unusual or any changes in your feet, seek professional help promptly.