Looking After Your Feet
At your annual diabetes review, your diabetes specialist nurse, or another
member of the team such as the podiatrist, will carry out a foot examination to check for any signs of ulcers or other damage.
You can also help look after your feet in the meantime:
- Check your feet regularly for any signs of damage to the skin
- Never walk barefoot – especially outdoors
- Test the temperature of bath water before stepping in
- Ensure that your footwear is well fitting and comfortable and inspect the inside of shoes regularly to ensure there is nothing that could rub, pierce or otherwise injure the skin
- Cut or file toenails regularly – maybe consult a chiropodist if you need assistance with this
- Seek treatment for ulcers immediately or if blisters or injuries are slow to heal
The best way to reduce the risk of developing complications that affect your feet is to bring your blood glucose levels under control and to give up smoking as that also affects the blood supply to the area.
You are at risk of many serious long term complications if you are unable to get your blood glucose levels under control. These include micro vascular complications, so called because they involve damage to the small blood vessels in the body and can lead to peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage). This may cause loss of feeling in the feet and legs and will exacerbate any problems caused by poor circulation, another complication of badly controlled diabetes.
These complications can result in foot ulcers, gangrene and ultimately amputations, because not only will foot injuries not heal well, but the lack of feeling means you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured in the first place. Unfortunately, people with diabetes are up to thirty times more likely to have an amputation than the general population.