Foot-related complications are common for those suffering from diabetes. This is because the condition often involves a reduction in blood supply—especially to extremities like the legs and feet. The severity of these complications can vary depending on the patient. If untreated, they can eventually lead to peripheral neuropathy: a loss of feeling in the area. Around one out of 10 diabetics suffer with foot ulcers. These injuries may begin small but can grow larger, become infected or fail to heal properly. As they linger, more rigorous treatment may be needed to restore the area back to health. Remember that these lesions can be prevented with the right care—follow our handy tips for peace of mind.
If you are diabetic, you should aim to visit a podiatrist at least once a year. If yours is a long-term condition, you should be eligible for a visit to an NHS podiatrist every year—talk to your doctor for more details on referrals.
Ward off germs
One of the most important things to keep in mind is cleanliness. You may have a sanitary routine but you should take extra measures to ensure your feet are hygienic and free of infection. Try giving yourself a footbath each evening with a perfume-free soap, drying thoroughly with a fresh towel.
No bare feet
Avoid walking barefoot, even in your own garden or on the beach. Steering clear of unnecessary scrapes and cuts is essential to preventing ulcers—these are more likely to develop without the right foot protection.
Get the right fit
Inadequately fitting shoes can cause anyone discomfort, but for those with diabetes they may pose a serious health risk. Squeezing or rubbing of the feet can produce calluses, corns, ulcers or nail issues. Shoes made with natural materials like genuine leather will mould to the shape of your foot. You may even consider getting custom-fit shoes for extra security and peace of mind.
You should aim to keep your toenails trimmed and tidy—this will mean shoes are worn more easily and fewer places for bacteria to collect.
Put your feet up
While diabetes shouldn’t restrict your ease of movement too much, you should aim to avoid long periods of being on your feet. Extra pressure on your legs won’t help the diminished blood flow, so it’s important to take it easy when walking. •