It is estimated about 65 foot amputations are caused by diabetes every week in Australia and foot complications are one of the major reasons for hospitalisation of many Diabetics. However, many of these complications can be avoided with proper foot care.
Diabetics have a tendency to developing problems with blood flow to the extremities. The feet are often affected by a reduction in blood flow because they are the furthermost part from the heart. Blood is vital in keeping skin and bones healthy because it provides nourishment and fights infection. If the blood can’t get down to the feet, minor infections can become very serious. Some diabetics can also develop problems with the nerves in their feet so they don’t always know if they have hurt themselves.
All of our Podiatrists at Peel Podiatry Clinic are trained to detect problems in Diabetic feet. The early detection of poor blood flow to the feet or nerve damage to the feet can help in the prevention of some of the more serious complications often seen by Podiatrists. We provide advice to Diabetics on the best way to look after their own feet and treat problems if they arise.
What can I do to take the best care of my feet?
A program of Daily Foot Care will help prevent problems with feet.
- Examine feet daily. Carefully check both feet for areas of redness, blisters, cuts or bruising. Look between each toe and, if necessary, use a mirror to inspect the soles of your feet
- Wash feet with mild soap and warm water every day. Test the water temperature with a bath thermometer. The water temperature should be about 37°C. Dry feet thoroughly afterward, especially between the toes
- Wear well fitting shoes, socks and hosiery. Shoes should be correctly fitted, that is, appropriate width, adequate support, firm heel, deep toe box and leather uppers with rubber soles should be considered. Wool and cotton socks are better than synthetics, avoiding elastic tops, seams or holes which will cause unnecessary pressure
- Look and feel inside your shoes each day for unnoticed stones, nails or torn linings which may rub feet.
- Avoid walking barefoot, shoes should be worn at all times to protect the feet against injury
Tips for Improved Circulation
- Do Not Smoke, as smoking contributes to poor circulation
- Exercise daily eg: a brisk walk.
- Avoid wearing garters or socks with tight tops
- Do not sit or lie with legs crossed
Tips to Avoid Injury
- Always wear shoes to protect your feet – never go barefoot
- Wear well fitting shoes, socks and hosiery. When buying shoes, purchase them in the later part of the day, as feet tend to swell throughout the day and, have your feet measured before purchasing well fitting shoes. It is recommended that new shoes should be worn inside the house for 20 hours before wearing them outside
- If you have corns or callus see your podiatrist for treatment. Never cut, tear off or use chemical peeling agents, such as, corn pads to remove corns or calluses
Does controlling my blood glucose level help prevent foot complications?
Yes. Control of blood glucose levels by maintaining your management plan, such as diet, exercise and medication will reduce the risk of circulatory and nerve damage, therefore helping prevent foot problems. Regular blood glucose monitoring is an excellent means of telling you when adjustments are needed to bring blood glucose levels into an acceptable range.