Caring for the Diabetic Foot

Many people may not recognise the seriousness or number of complications that may occur if Diabetes is not properly controlled and monitored, with foot problems among the most serious. Approximately 15% of diabetics will develop a foot ulcer, with a smaller percentage of those at risk of limb amputation. 

The Diabetic foot requires a significant amount of attention and care to ensure that complications are rare, with your General Practitioner and Podiatrist playing a key role in your ongoing monitoring. In saying this, every diabetic has their own important role to play in maintaining foot health. Below are some useful tips for caring for your feet at home. 

Check your feet on a daily basis for any of the following signs; (a mirror is useful to help to see the soles of your feet easily) 

  • Any cuts, abrasions or foreign objection within the skin. 
  • Redness and/or swelling 

Run your hands along the soles of your feet to check for any temperature changes from top to bottom. 

  • Wash and dry your feet well each day. A cotton tip or small towel around a long handled object can make this easier.
  • If your feet remain moist for long periods of time, particularly between your toes, the skin may begin to break down which increases the risk of infection occurring.

Check your shoes before you put them on each day and have them fitted properly 

  • Check for any foreign objects which may have landed in there. If the feeling in your feet is compromised you may not be able to feel a sharp object pressing into your foot until it has caused a cut.
  • Shoes which do not fit correctly, whether it be too big, too small or too narrow can cause rubbing and friction when you walk increasing the risk of blisters, callouses and corns. 

It is important that if you notice any of the above signs when you check your feet that you contact your podiatrist ASAP for a proper review. Early treatment of wounds will reduce healing times and significantly minimise the risk of further complications. 

Aside from your daily self-foot care, ensure you are visiting the podiatrist at minimum 12 monthly for a full diabetic foot assessment. This should involve a blood supply check with a Doppler and blood pressure machine, a nerve function assessment and general foot care. More frequent checks may be indicated for higher risk patients. 

See our website for more information on diabetes and the feet.


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