For family reasons we at Marble Hill take a particular interest in diabetes, supporting diabetes research and for the last two years publishing a daily Twitter post. @DailyFootCheck offers encouragement, tips and support to people living with diabetes, podiatry professionals, doctors and nurses all over the world. We are proud to include both Diabetes.co.uk and DiabetesUK among our followers.
If you have a Twitter account, why not join us on @DailyFootCheck helping you to remember to keep your feet in great shape – everyday.
Diabetes.co.uk is a community of people with diabetes, family members, friends, supporters and carers, offering their own support and firsthand knowledge with a membership of 173,301 people in the Diabetes Forum.
Our friends at Diabetes.co.uk have been kind enough to provide this excellent overview of diabetic footcare.
We would particularly like to thank Jack Woodfield for all his hard work.
You can find a helpful Foot Care Guide at the bottom of this page, why not print it out as a helpful reminder and simple guide to use daily
Caring for your Feet When you have Diabetes
Foot care is an especially important aspect of management for people with diabetes. Your diabetes team will examine your feet annually, but caring for your feet yourself is essential to check for signs of ulcers or other problems, and make sure your feet are healthy.
Why is foot care so important?
High blood glucose levels over a long period of time can lead to damage of the blood vessels and nerves of the feet. Excessive glucose in the blood can cause wounds or damage to heal more slowly. Furthermore, foot ulcers – which affect as many as one in 10 people with diabetes – can develop from blisters and small wounds. If nerves become damaged, this increases the risk of serious foot problems developing, such as diabetic neuropathy. Neuropathy causes numbness in the feet, and if the damage is severe enough, can lead to amputation. If your feet are not regularly checked by yourself and by your diabetes team, foot problems may not be identified until they have developed into something more serious.
How should I care for my feet?
You should check your feet on a daily basis to spot any signs of problems developing. This can be done very easily while you are at home. Wash your feet with lukewarm water and soap. This will reduce the risk of infection if your feet suffer any damage. Then, dry your feet well especially between the toes to prevent any fungal infections from developing.
Moisturise your feet – but not between the toes – as this will prevent your skin from becoming too dry and reduce the likelihood of a foot ulcer developing.
(The exceptions to this moisturising rule are water-free products such as PediSalve which do not provide moisture for fungal growth.)
Keep your toenails at a reasonable length, but make sure you cut straight across the nail, and not down the sides of the nail. This could lead to in-growing toenails. Your doctor or chiropodist can do this for you if you find it difficult. Make sure that you wear (clean) socks and shoes that fit you comfortably and keep your feet warm and dry. Uncomfortable shoes can lead to blisters, corns and foot ulcers. Also, make sure you examine your shoes for things like stones that might hurt your feet. Be sure to avoid walking barefoot anywhere – indoors or outdoors. Stubbing a toe or stepping on something that can puncture the skin can lead to a foot ulcer.
What signs of damage should I look for?
Checking your feet can help you identify a number of signs of foot damage. If you notice any change in feeling, shape, colour, smell or appearance of your feet, you should notify your doctor.
Signs to look out for include:
• Wounds, such as cuts, grazes, blisters or cuts
• Redness to the skin
• Prickly, tingly or burning sensations
• Notably warm or cold feet
• Numbness or any loss of sensation
• Warts and fungus
• (And) any built-up, hard, dry or cracked skin
How can I prevent problems with my feet developing?
There are steps you can take to prevent problems developing with your feet.
Make sure your blood glucose levels are well controlled, and that your cholesterol levels are as near normal as possible.
Do regular exercise, such as a brisk walk every day, as this will help reduce the risk of suffering foot-related complications. Make sure that if you smoke, you give it up. Smoking can cause peripheral arterial disease which makes it harder for blood to reach your feet. Also, try to make sure your feet are not exposed to extreme heat or cold.