People with diabetes are at much greater risk of developing problems with their feet, due to the damage raised blood sugars can cause to sensation and circulation. If left untreated, these problems can cause foot ulcers and infections and, at worst, may lead to amputations. However, most foot problems are preventable with good, regular foot care.At The Diabetes Centre – Islamabad (TDC) a specialized foot care clinic is operating to provide quality foot care and treatment free of cost to the needy ones and at nominal rates for those who can afford these treatment. As TDC is not for profit therefor all collection will be used for the treatment of the needy ones.
So we urge you to keep an eye on your feet at home and make sure that you get a quality foot check from a properly trained person at least once a year.
What To monitor:
It often starts as a small break in the skin and can quickly develop into a foot ulcer. It can start from something as small as a blister that forms because you didn’t feel your shoe rubbing, a small cut or wound from standing on a sharp object. You may not have felt the pain because you have lost sensation in your feet.
Watch these danger signs
- Is your foot red, warm or swollen?
- Is there a break in the skin or any discharge (or oozing) onto your socks or stockings?
- Do you feel unwell?
Remember you may not experience pain even with a visible wound. If your sight is not good make sure someone else looks at your feet every day.
Treatment TDC can provide:
- You will probably need a course of antibiotics and your foot will probably be covered with a dressing
- You should rest and avoid unnecessary standing or walking
- Your diabetes treatment may be changed to maximise the chances of healing
- If your feet are at moderate or high risk you’ll be referred to a foot specialist podiatrist. This will mean that you can get expert advice about how to
look after your feet and prevent any problems from getting worse.
What will the foot specialists do?
They will tell you your level of risk.
Together, you will agree a personalised care plan. This may involve treatment, advice about appropriate footwear and how to look after your feet.
You will be seen every 1-3 months and this will be arranged through the local podiatry service.
Top tips for healthy feet
- Have a quality foot check by an appropriately trained person at least once a year. You should always take your shoes and socks off so that they can do a proper assessment.
- Don’t be self-conscious about your feet.
- After the foot check, ask what your risk is of developing foot problems.
- If you are at increased risk of foot problems, make sure you have been referred to a foot protection service or specialist podiatrist for expert input.
- Check your feet every day – look for any signs of redness, pain, build-up of hard skin or changes in the shape of your feet.
- Be aware of any loss of feeling in your feet because you may not feel if you hurt your feet.
- Ask someone at home to monitor the feeling in your feet by doing the quick, easy Touch the toes test. This can be done between appointments and if there are any changes go to your GP. The Touch the Toes test is not a substitute for the annual foot review.
- Look after your toenails.
- Do not use corn-removing plasters or blades as these can damage healthy skin.
- Use moisturising cream every day and wear well-fitting shoes that protect and support your feet.
- Always examine the inside of your shoes for sharp objects or stones before putting them on and replace ruffled innersole linings. Avoid socks, stockings or tights with wrinkles or prominent seams.
- Garters and stockings or socks with elastic tops should also be avoided because they may restrict the circulation. Never wear socks with darned areas or holes.
- Know who to call at the first sign of any new foot problem.
Steps you can take to prevent problems happening
- If you smoke, get support to help you stop because smoking affects blood circulation and so increases your risk of developing serious foot problems.
- Keep good control of your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, sugar and salt, and high in fruit and vegetables.
- Make sure you attend your annual foot check.
- Know your risk of developing foot problems and if you have been referred to a foot specialist for expert advice.
- Attend all your appointments.
- Follow our top tips for healthy feet.
- Make sure that your socks and shoes are comfortable and fit well.
- If you are able to, take regular physical activity, for example a brisk walk each day.
- Contact your GP or diabetes team if you have any concerns about your feet – don’t wait until your annual foot review.