Diabetic Footcare- why all the fuss?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects many individuals worldwide, and it is crucial to be aware of the health issues associated with it. One of the most common complications of diabetes is foot problems, which can lead to serious consequences such as amputations, infections, and hospitalisation. That's why it is crucial to understand the importance of proper diabetic foot care and how to prevent foot-related issues.
As a podiatrist my aim is to keep feet as healthy as possible and prevent amputations in diabetics. Here are my practical tips to maintain healthy feet.
1 Ensure you have an annual diabetic foot check either at your GP practice or with your podiatrist.
2 Keep your feet clean and dry. Washing your feet daily with soap and water and making sure they are completely dry is an essential step in preventing infections and skin breakdown. Avoid using hot water, as it can cause dry skin, and avoid walking barefoot, as this increases your risk of injury.
3 Check your feet daily- Inspect your feet regularly for any cuts, blisters, redness, or swelling. If you have trouble reaching your feet, use a mirror or ask someone to help.
4 Wear appropriate footwear which fits well and provides adequate support is crucial in preventing foot injuries. Avoid shoes that are too tight or have high heels. You should also consider wearing shoes specifically designed for diabetics, which provide extra cushioning and protection.
5 Keep your blood sugar levels under control ;High blood sugar levels can lead to neuropathy (nerve damage), which can reduce sensation in your feet. This can make it difficult to feel cuts, blisters, or other injuries, increasing the risk of infections. It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and work with your healthcare team to keep them under control.
6 Visit a podiatrist regularly! A podiatrist is a medical professional who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems. They can help you identify and treat any foot problems early on, reducing the risk of serious complications. They can also provide you with custom orthotics or special shoes to help reduce the risk of injury.
Diabetic foot care is a crucial aspect of managing diabetes, and it is essential to understand the steps you can take to prevent foot problems. Remember to keep your feet clean and dry, check your feet daily, wear proper footwear, control your blood sugar levels, and visit a podiatrist regularly. By following these tips, you can maintain healthy feet and reduce the risk of serious foot-related complications.