Caring for your feet

Eighty percent of diabetes related amputations are preventable 
 so are you putting your feet at the top of your caring agenda?

In 2012 Diabetes UK launched a campaign to raise awareness of foot problems in diabetes and to try and encourage better foot care.

There are 6,000 diabetes related amputations in the UK every year and it is estimated that 80% of these could have been prevented. Amputations often result from a foot ulcer which has not healed. An amputation is bad enough but another startling fact is that there is a greater possibility of death within five years after the amputation or foot ulcer than after colon, prostrate of breast cancer.

Complications leading to kidney failure, blindness and amputation are equally possible in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In launching it's campaign this spring Diabetes UK hope to raise awareness of the problems all people suffering from diabetes could face if they do not check their feet regularly.

One of the problems with diabetes is that the feet can gradually loose sensation.Diabetes can cause the nerves which carry pain signals to the brain  to become damaged causing numbness and a lack of pain sensation. This lack of sensation means that cuts and bruises could go unnoticed and progress to ulcers which can be slow to heal due to the associated reduced blood flow in the feet.

So if you notice:
1. Tingling or pins and needles, numbness, hard skin, feet that are red and hot to the touch or have changed in shape.

2. Cramp in the calves, thickened toenails, cold and pale feet, wounds or sores

Then talk to your GP or nurse practitioner.

What you should do as 'self help'

  • Check your feet everyday - look for swelling, redness, change of skin colour,
  • Wash your feet daily in warm soapy water - but don't soak them. Then dry thoroughly and then  apply a moisturiser all over the feet except between the toes. This is where ACP can help - Heel Care or Body Lotion can be used safely and effectively to moisturise the feet. It  also helps to reduce dry and cracked skin which will allow infection in.
  • Trim your toenails once a week.
  • Always wear shoes or slippers to protect from injury.
  • Always wear socks or tights to avoid blisters.
  • Wear shoes that fit.

Above all monitor and control your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. Sustained high blood sugar levels cause  damage to the nervous system which can then lead to the foot problems mentioned above.  It can also damage the circulatory system, which reduces the amount of blood and therefore oxygen getting to the muscles, tissues and skin slowing down healing and recovery.