Diabetes is a disease that develops from high blood glucose levels which can cause damage to the nerve systems in your body. The nerves most likely to be affected are the longest ones – those that reach all the way down to your legs and feet. This nerve damage is called neuropathy.
Any injury or hard skin has the potential to develop into something more serious if you have diabetes. When the skin is damaged, it may not heal so easily and this can occasionally cause an ulcer to form on your foot. Additionally, if you have lost feeling in your feet then it is possible that you may unknowingly damage your feet. If not noticed and not treated appropriately this can have serious consequences and could lead to amputation.
Diabetes may affect your feet in a number of ways. One of the early changes can be loss of sensation in your feet, often starting at the toes. Another change that can occur is reduced blood flow to your feet. Diabetes may also affect your ability to heal and reduce your natural ability to fight bacteria. Consequently, you should take particular care of any scratches, cuts or blisters on your feet.
If you have Diabetes, you can expect your healthcare professional to see you regularly throughout the year along with other members of a multidisciplinary foot care team. However, if you are at increased risk of an ulcer, these inspections may be more frequent and carried out by a podiatrist. We will check both the blood supply to your feet and any evidence of loss of sensation in your feet.
We will also be looking for any foot deformity or signs of excessive loading that may warrant either footwear advice or in some cases an insole.
If you see any of the following in your feet, you should also seek medical attention or consult a podiatrist:
- Walking becomes more difficult
- Applying or wearing shoes becomes more difficult
- Tingling sensation or pins and needles
- Part or all of your foot becomes swollen
- Breaks in the skin
- Skin colour changes over part or all of the foot
- Swelling in your feet and/or an unusual odour
- Part or all of your foot feels much hotter or colder than usual
- Hard skin
- Cramp in your calves
- Shiny smooth skin and/or losing hair on your feet and legs
- Visit a podiatrist once a year
- Keep your feet clean and free from infection
- Wear shoes that fit well
- Never walk barefoot
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed
- Cut or file your toenails regularly
- Ger corns or hard skin treated by a podiatrist
Do you require additional advice? Call us.