Diabetes can cause many changes in your circulation, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and the skin of your feet.
Did you know that:
- foot ulcers will develop in 15-25% of people with Diabetes over their lifetime?
- or that 1.5 million people have a lower limb or foot amputated due to diabetes each year?
- That’s the equivalent of one amputation every 20 seconds worldwide.
- The number of people diagnosed with Diabetes worldwide is estimated to increase to 380 million by the year 2025.
So how do you turn these frightening statistics around?
At Complete Podiatry, we work with you to discover how your diabetes can put your feet at risk of these terrible complications and most importantly, give you the strategies and education you need to prevent them from occurring.
What Problems Can Diabetes Cause in My Feet?
If you do not look after your diabetes and keep your sugar levels under control, there are many changes that could occur in your feet including:
Dry skin tends to occur about the heels and often leads to cracks that could become infected.
Changes to Foot Shape
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.
Changes in Feeling in the Feet
If you develop nerve damage in your feet you may not be able to feel when things happen to them.
For example, you may not be able to feel a pin stuck in the bottom of your foot!!!
Loss of feeling is a problem because if you cannot feel damage to your feet you will not do anything to fix the damage! If you have nerve damage you may even develop a painful, burning feeling in your feet.
See your Podiatrist immediately if you notice any changes to the feeling in your feet.
Diabetes tends to increase your risk of developing infections 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.
An ulcer is a wound that takes longer than usual to heal.
Foot ulcers usually occur when there is too much pressure on one part of the foot or when your circulation is reduced to part of the foot.
Foot ulcers may or may not be painful.
If you notice any wounds on your feet that are not healing, you must see you Podiatrist or GP immediately.
Part of the foot may need to be amputated if a foot ulcer becomes badly infected.
The best way to prevent amputations is to see your doctor or podiatrist immediately if you notice a problem
How Can I Look After My Feet?
Here are the 6 simple things you need to do each day to take make sure you reduce your risk of foot problems when you have diabetes.
1. Control Your Diabetes
Try to keep good control of your diabetes. This will reduce your risk of nerve and blood vessel damage.
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.
3. Look After Your Feet
Keep your feet clean, apply a moisturising cream to the heels and dry well between the toes every day.
4. Look After Your Toenails
Cut your toenails as recommended or have your podiatrist do this for you.
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.
6. Have a Regular Check-Up
Your feet should be checked by your Podiatrist at least once every 6 months regarding your diabetes and more regularly if you have problems reaching or seeing your feet.
Ask for an assessment if you have not had your diabetes foot review this year!
Your feet are for life
Remember, you only have one pair of feet so you need to look after them.
Should you notice any problems with your feet, ask your Podiatrist to look at them straight away.
I'm so confident I can help you that I'd love to chat with you personally about your diabetes, it's what we are passionate about!