Diabetes and Your Feet
People with diabetes may develop serious problems with their feet. This blog will explain how to take good care of your feet to prevent many of these problems from occurring.
Diabetes can cause changes to two important systems of the body;
Nerves can be damaged if you have too much sugar in the blood. If the nerves are damaged they will not work properly. This could lead to:
• Decreased sensation in your feet, especially on the bottom of your feet. This means that if you were to step on a sharp object you may not feel it!!!
• Changes to foot shape as the nerves work the muscles and the muscles work the joints. Therefore, if you have nerve changes you may notice changes in the shape of your feet. This can lead to claw toes and general foot deformity that makes it very difficult to find comfortable fitting shoes and can change your walking pattern.
Too much sugar in the blood can damage and clog the vessels that carry blood to the feet. Smoking makes this much worse. These changes often cause:
• Slow healing potential which can lead to ulcerations, which are wounds that take a long time to heal and can lead to amputations.
• Increased risk of infection, especially, if you damage the skin on your feet. Infections can be caused by bacteria or fungus (tinea and fungal nails). Any infections need to be reviewed by your Podiatrist or GP as soon as you notice them.
• Skin and nail changes to the feet. If there is poor blood flow to the feet, they are often red, cold and shiny with no hair growth. The nails are usually thickened and do not grow much.
• Painful cramps in the backs of your legs during exercise and sleeping. As the muscles need blood to inervate them and lack of this can lead to claudication and rest pain.
How can I look after my feet?
There are 6 steps to take make sure you reduce your risk of foot problems.
Step 1: Control Your Diabetes
Try to keep good control of your diabetes. This will reduce your risk of nerve and blood vessel damage.
Step 2: Look at Your Feet Daily
If you can’t feel your feet how will you know if something is wrong with them? Check your feet morning and night. Use a mirror or ask for help if you cannot reach your feet.
Step 3: Look After Your Feet
Keep your feet clean, apply a moisturising cream to the heels, and dry well between the toes every day.
Step 4: Look After Your Toenails
Cut your toenails as recommended or have your podiatrist do this for you.
Step 5: Wear the Right Shoes
Your shoes need to fit the shape of your foot and be appropriate for the types of activities you are doing. Ask your Podiatrist to check your shoes regularly.
Step 6: Have a Regular Check-Up
Your feet should be checked by your Podiatrist at least once every 6 months regarding your diabetes. Ask for an assessment if you have not had your diabetes foot review this year.
We Are Here To Help
If you have diabetes and have not had your feet checked, the first thing to do is book an appointment with one of our Podiatrists at Complete Podiatry for an assessment that will check the blood flow and nerve supply to your feet.
Once this is done, we will develop a structured management plan that outlines our best advice for how to help you.
Just call us on 8330 0004 I'll love to talk to you about how we can help you build an amazing life from the feet up!
Podiatrist at Complete Podiatry