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A Guide to Diabetic Foot Issues

What is Diabetes?

Known in full as diabetes mellitus, it represents a group of disorders that are related to an abnormal increase in blood sugar level. This is due to the decreased availability of insulin or the decreased sensitivity to insulin.

How can Diabetes affect the feet?

The abnormal increase in blood sugar affects three main components responsible for the well being of the feet – blood supply to the feet, nerve functioning of the feet and the immune system.

How to care for diabetic feet at home

  • Examine your feet daily for any skin lesions such as open wounds, blisters and hard skin
  • Wear flexible socks that have a loose band to not decrease the blood circulation
  • Avoid walking barefoot and wear protection on the soles
  • Always wear flip flops when in public wet areas such as the poolside and public showers
  • Check your shoes regularly for any damage such as loss of tread, holes, rough inner seams
  • Thoroughly wipe your feet dry in between your toes
  • Avoid wearing any heated socks or having your feet near heaters 
  • Avoid using hot water bottles that have been filled with boiling water

When to see a Podiatrist

The best time to see a podiatrist is as soon as you get your diabetes diagnosis. This will help the podiatrist to examine your feet and establish the baseline of your foot health status which will help craft a tailored treatment plan for your personal foot care needs.

What a Podiatrist will do to help treat diabetic foot issues

After obtaining the baseline of your foot health status the podiatrist will treat you according to their findings. Here is an array of treatment plans we usually give to our patients with diabetes:

  • Routine foot care – Regular visits to the podiatrist and then to the podiatrist assistants which includes but is not limited to nail cutting, removing corns and calluses, treating ingrown nails, treating thick nails and skin lesions.
  • Annual foot screenings – Annual/Bi-annual foot screening aims to check the integrity of your skin and nails, blood supply to your feet and nerve functioning at the level of your feet.
  • Footwear assessment – Footwear can have detrimental effects on anyone that is diabetic. Therefore you should give special care to the shoes you invest in. Our podiatrists are equipped with the knowledge you need to give advice on the best shoe for your foot type.
  •  Nail cutting advice- When nails are being cut incorrectly it could lead to ingrown nails or trauma to the surrounding skin. A podiatrist will give you the best advice as to how you should cut your nails in the safest way possible.
  • Vascular assessment – At Randell’s Footcare we are able to offer vascular assessments to all our patients and highly recommend anyone with a diabetes diagnosis has one as soon as possible. Find out more information here

How to Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is a multifactorial disease. It is sometimes genetic, hereditary and autoimmune so there is no one way to prevent diabetes. Some of these factors can be controlled to lower the risk of getting diabetes. They are as follows:

  • Weight – Obesity is a risk factor to the development of uncontrolled blood sugar levels. It is often used as an assessment tool together with waist circumference to determine the risk you as an individual have of developing diabetes. With that in mind, weight control is one of the ways in which to prevent a premature or diabetes diagnosis .
  • Diet- Controlling one’s diet is one of the single most important factors within our control when it comes to diabetes. Healthcare professionals will always educate diabetics or pre-diabetics about their diet. Hence why controlling your diet even before reaching the aforementioned statuses is one of the ways in which to help prevent development of diabetes.
  • Exercise – By exercising we burn calories and keep our cardiovascular system healthy. Exercise is also proven to decrease blood glucose levels helping  you to maintain a normal level.

Hopefully you have found this blog useful and it has answered some questions you might have. However if you would like further advice or have diabetes and would like to make an appointment with one of our HCPC registered Podiatrists. Contact us on 01603 737188 or complete our contact form today

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