Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes and Your Feet

Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to produce or use insulin effectively. Over time, diabetes can lead to various complications, including foot problems. Here’s a summary of diabetes and its impact on feet:

  1. Nerve Damage (Neuropathy): High blood sugar levels can damage nerves, leading to diabetic neuropathy. This condition affects the feet in particular, causing numbness, tingling, or pain. Nerve damage can also reduce sensation, making it difficult to detect injuries or infections.
  2. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Diabetes can affect the blood vessels, leading to poor circulation. PAD, a common complication, reduces blood flow to the feet and legs. Reduced circulation can cause foot pain, slow healing of wounds or sores, and increase the risk of infections.
  3. Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Due to reduced sensation and poor circulation, even minor foot injuries can develop into ulcers or open sores. These ulcers are slow to heal and can become infected. Without proper care, they can lead to severe complications, such as gangrene, which may require amputation.
  4. Charcot Foot: Charcot foot is a condition where the bones in the foot weaken and fracture, often due to nerve damage. It can cause the foot to change shape and become misaligned. Charcot foot is usually painless, and people may continue to walk on the affected foot, worsening the damage.
  5. Infections: Diabetes compromises the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections. If a foot injury or ulcer becomes infected, it can spread to the bone, leading to a severe condition called osteomyelitis. Infections must be promptly treated to prevent complications.
  6. Foot Care and Prevention: Proper foot care is crucial for individuals with diabetes. Regular self-examinations, including checking for cuts, blisters, or sores, can help identify problems early. Maintaining good blood sugar control, wearing appropriate footwear, and practicing good hygiene can reduce the risk of foot complications.

It is important for people with diabetes to work closely with healthcare professionals, such as doctors and chiropodists, to monitor and manage their foot health effectively. Regular check-ups and early intervention can help prevent serious complications and maintain overall foot health.

Chiropodists can assess for nerve sensation, blood flow, and check for any high risk areas of the feet such as heavy calluses. Book with one of our chiropodists today for a proper diabetic foot exam and treatment.

Tips For Healthy Feet!

  • Check your feet every day for cuts, redness, swelling, sores, blisters, corns, or calluses. Wearing white or light coloured socks is an easy way to spot any sore spots that are bleeding or draining. If you can’t see the bottoms of your feet use a mirror or have a friend and/or family member check them for you.
  • Wash your feet every day in warm (not hot) water and dry them well. Make sure to clean in between the toes as well!
  • Moisturize your feet every day with a cream meant for the feet. Avoid putting cream between the toes as extra moisture is not needed here and too much moisture can lead to fungal and bacterial infections
  • Never go barefoot, even inside. Slippers or sandals inside the house is a must!
  • Wear shoes that fit well and always wear socks. Always shake out and feel inside shoes with your hands before putting them on. We don’t need any little rocks causing an ulcer!
  • Trim your toenails straight across and smooth out sharp edges with a nail file. If you have numbness in your toes it is best to have a chiropodist trim them for you.
  • Don’t try to remove corns or calluses yourself. Cuts and scrapes put you at risk for infection. Please see your chiropodist for treatment of corns and calluses.
  • Get your feet checked at every health care visit and visit your chiropodist at least every 6 months.