Diabetes & Your Feet
Why are feet important?
People with diabetes are at risk of foot problems due to numbness caused by nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). With diabetic neuropathy, damage to the foot can occur and not be detected. In addition, poor circulation to the legs and feet slows the healing process when damage does occur. Wounds that don’t heal may form foot ulcers (skin sores). Diabetic foot ulcers often become infected and can subsequently turn gangrenous because of poor circulation. Non-healing foot ulcers are a frequent cause of amputation in people with diabetes.
What are the risk factors which may cause foot ulcers?
- Previous history of ulceration
- Poor circulation
- Poor foot care
- Foot deformities eg. claw toes, hammer toes which cause pressure lesions.
- Unsuitable footwear eg. shoes that are too tight may rub or cut your feet.
How can you look after your feet yourself?
- Wash your feet daily in luke warm water (not hot) and mild soap. Dry them well, especially between the toes
- Check your feet daily for cuts, sores, blisters, redness, calluses, or other problems. You may need a mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet.
- If your skin is dry, rub lotion on your feet after you wash them. Do not put lotion between your toes.
- Cut your toenails when needed. Cut them to the shape of the toe and not too short. File the edges with an emery board. File corns and calluses gently with an emery board or pumice stone. If you are unable to reach your feet your podiatrist is happy to help.
- Always wear closed in shoes or slippers to protect your feet from injuries. Wear shoes that fit well and always wear socks or stockings to avoid blisters. Before putting your shoes on, feel the insides for things like gravel or torn linings. These things could rub against your feet and cause blisters or sores.
When you need to see a podiatrist?
- 6-12 monthly podiatry reviews are required for patients with no neuropathy.
- 6 month podiatry reviews are required for patients who have neuropathy but no foot deformities.
- 2-3 month podiatry reviews are required for patients with both neuropathy and foot deformities.
- 1-2 month podiatry reviews are required for patients with neuropathy, foot deformities and a history of ulceration.