Diabetic Foot Care
Why Do People with Diabetes need to take particular care of their feet?
The Diabetic Foot is a High Risk Foot. Diabetes can cause changes to the feet which lead to foot ulceration, recurring infections, gangrene and in a minority of cases, toe, foot or leg amputation. Two of the main reasons are:
1. Damage to the nerves in the feet (neuropathy). The sensation/feeling in the feet becomes reduced. Thus an injury to the foot can occur, which may not be felt at the time and goes untreated. Infection may result which can progress to become a foot ulcer.
2. People with diabetes are predisposed to developing poor circulation. This can lead to a poor supply of oxygen, nutrients and immune cells to the tissues in the feet, which delays healing. Any open injury can become infected. This in turn can lead to tissue breakdown and ulceration. If the ulcer fails to heal and becomes repeatedly infected gangrene may develop and amputation of a toe or foot may be necessary.
What can I do to help?
Have your feet checked professionally for any blood flow deficit and/or sensation loss (neuropathy) at least on an annual basis.
Keep your sugar levels within the normal range, take your blood pressure and cholesterol medication as directed and stop smoking. This will avoid changes/damage to nerve function and to lower leg blood vessels in the first place.
In addition you should avoid any injury to your feet. Some simple tips are:
- Wash daily and dry well, particularly between the toes
- Inspect the feet every day for any broken area/infection/foreign body
- Seek attention early if you find a problem. In the meantime cleanse with antiseptic and cover.
- Apply a moisturising cream to the feet regularly but not between the toes
- Do not walk barefoot. This helps to prevent injuries
- File the nails rather than using a scissors
- Do not use medicated corn plasters (they contain an acid which may damage your skin)
- Suitable footwear is very important for protection and cushioning of the diabetic foot
- be wide, deep and seamless at the toes
- Have a thick sole
- have a good cushioning insole
- have a good arch support
- be Velcro or lace up
- have a low wide heel
Book an appointment at Kilkenny Foot Clinic by calling 056-7795716