Diabetes can reduce the circulation and sensation in your feet. Awareness of changes in temperature, pain and touch may all be diminished. As a result, foot problems may occur without your awareness of them - this means if you injure your foot you may not be aware of it.
Diabetes can reduce the feeling in your feet by affecting the nerve fibres - this is called NEUROPATHY. Diabetes can also have an effect on your blood vessels causing poor circulation - this is called ISCHAEMIA. This can mean that the foot is more prone to injury, and can be slower to heal.
With care and attention, and regular check-ups by an HCPC Registered Chiropodist / Podiatrist (formally known as State Registered), most of these problems may be prevented.
DIABETIC FOOT PROBLEMS CAN BE REDUCED By:-
- Controlling sugar levels.
- Stopping smoking.
- Taking regular exercise.
- Following simple guidelines from your healthcare professionals.
- Get in the habit of checking your feet every day for cuts, abrasions, grazes, inflammation, or swelling .If you notice any problems, do not attempt to deal with them yourself. Consult your Podiatrist / Health Care Practioner immediately, stating that you are Diabetic and that it is an emergency.
- Wash your feet daily in warm water using a mild soap. Do not soak your feet.
- Rinse your feet well after washing, and dry carefully especially between the toes.
- Change socks or stockings every day. Do not wear ones with seams, or ones which cramp your toes. Special socks for diabetics are available with gel insoles. Ask the Chiropodist for details.
- Avoid garters as these might reduce your circulation.
- If your skin is dry, apply a little moisturising cream daily-E45, CCS cream, Ureka etc.
- If your skin is moist, wipe over with surgical spirit daily, paying particular attention to between the toes.
- Make sure that your daily baths are not too hot. Remember that your awareness of hot and cold may be diminished.
- Do not sit too close to fires or radiators.
- Remove hot water bottles before getting into bed. Turn off electric blankets too.
- Cut toe-nails straight across and not too short. If there are any problems whatsoever, consult your Podiatrist / Chiropodist immediately. It might be easier to file your nails and not cut them.
- Do not deal with corns or calluses yourself, NEVER use "corn preparations"
- If you notice any cuts or ulcers, soak in a solution of saline* for ten minutes. Cover with a clean sterile dressing and consult your Podiatrist / Chiropodist as soon as you can.
- Let blisters dry out on their own. Never burst them. Seek professional advice if they do not heal quickly.
- Check feet every day.
- Check for signs of redness on any part of the foot or leg.
- If the foot feels warmer than usual, this may be an indicate infection or inflammation, which needs prompt medical attention.
- If your eyesight is affected by the diabetes, and you can’t see; or you have difficulty reaching- ask a friend or family member to check your feet for you.
- Inspect your shoes daily in case there are any foreign objects in the shoe, or the lining is torn. Remember that your awareness of pain or injury may be diminished.
- Do not walk barefoot.
- Avoid sandals. They leave the foot exposed and there can be a risk of injury.
- Make sure your feet are measured properly.
- Do not wear slip-on shoes.
- Wear shoes which are lace-up , velcro or strap shoes. These hold the foot back in the shoe and prevent it from slipping forward and putting pressure on the toes.
- The shoes should be long enough, wide enough and deep enough.
- They should be made of leather preferably.
- Be careful to check your feet very carefully when you have worn new shoes. Do not wear them too long on the first time you wear them.
REGULAR CHECK UPS
- Remember to mention you have diabetes if you ring for an emergency appointment.
- The Podiatrist / Chiropodist will be able to treat any corns, calluses, ulcers or pressure sores which may have developed.
- Even if you haven’t any problems, it is still a good idea to go for regular check-ups to check for any changes.
- For advice on footwear.
- Nail cutting is very important indeed if you are a diabetic. It should be professionally done if you have any difficulty in reaching your feet or seeing them.