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Diabetes results in high levels of blood sugar within the body (hyperglycaemia). These high levels results in damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the body; poor circulation and loss of feeling in the feet. Due to this, diabetics have a slower healing rate and a higher chance of getting an infection in a wound. It is therefore important to prevent any unnecessary wounding to the feet.
Tips for healthy diabetic feet:
- Check your feet daily looking for signs of redness, swelling, heat and discharge. If this is present then contact your GP or foot health professional as soon as possible
- Never walk around in bare feet
- Wear shoes that fit well and don’t squeeze or rub. Ill-fitting shoes can cause corns and callous, ulcers and nail problems
- Be careful when cutting toe nails and don’t cut down the sides as this encourages in-growing toenails. If you cannot bend or have poor eyesight we would advise you to see a foot health professional for regular nail care
Steps to be taken to prevent foot problems occurring:
- Stop smoking
- Maintain a good, healthy diet
- Maintain good glucose levels
- Make sure your feet are not exposed to extreme temperatures
- Take regular exercise
- Attend your annual foot screening appointment
- Shoes must have a wide and deep toe box, be low heeled and have a fastening to support the foot
- Check inside shoes before putting on. You need to check for objects that could have fallen inside or ruffled insole and stitching
- Socks and stockings with tight elastic at top should not be worn as this may restrict the blood supply
- Moisturise your feet daily but avoid between the toes
- Never use corn plasters or acids as these will burn the skin and may cause an ulcer
If you struggle to bend down to your feet or have any foot problems we would encourage for you to make an appointment with a foot health professional.