Diabetic foot care

DIABETES CAN LEAD TO:

  • nerve damage in the feet and legs resulting in a loss of sensation, pins and needles or possible numbness and burning sensation-this is called neuropathy
  • a reduced blood supply to the feet and legs resulting in cold, painful feet

This means that injuries to the feet may go unnoticed, be slow to heal and can quickly become infected. It is important that your feet are examined as part of your Annual Review each year so that any problems can be treated early on.

To prevent problems it is important that you care for you feet. The following information should help:

  • Wash feet daily with a mild soap and luke warm water.
  • Dry feet thoroughly especially between the toes, using a soft towel or tissue.
  • For moist/sweaty skin between the toes apply surgical spirit with cotton wool.
  • To prevent dry skin use moisturising cream, but avoid applying between the toes.
  • When cutting toenails, follow the curve of the nail and avoid digging into the corners. Do not cut nails too short.
  • Use a pair of nail nippers and file the nail to avoid sharp edges.
  • For problem nails such as ingrown or thickened nails, or if you have poor eyesight consult a Foot Health Practitioner.
  • Corns and calluses should be dealt with by a Foot Health Practitioner. Do not use razor blades, corn plasters, etc. However you may use a pumice stone to smooth hard skin and corns.
  • Choose shoes with a fastening such as laces to hold the foot in place. Wear closed shoes with a deep, round toe box to allow plenty of room for the toes.
  • Have feet measured when buying new shoes. Always wear in new shoes gradually to prevent rubs/blisters.
  • Avoid walking barefoot-always wear shoes/slippers even indoors to protect your feet.
  • Change socks daily. Wear socks or stockings, which fit correctly and are in good repair.
  • Look at your feet daily. Check between the toes and underneath your feet, you may need to use a mirror.
  • Things to look out for:Check shoes inside and out, before putting them on, for cracks, pebbles or sharp edges, which may irritate the skin. You may not be able to feel these if you have a loss of sensation.
    • cuts, scratches and blisters
    • any change in colour (red, black, blue white)
    • sudden changes in temperature
    • any discharge from a break or crack in the skin
    • any unusual swelling and painful areas

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