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Home » Latest News » The Importance of Foot Care for Diabetics

The Importance of Foot Care for Diabetics

The Importance of Foot Care for Diabetics

The Grimsby Telegraph recently posted an article about a local gentleman who pursued a medical negligence claim against the NHS due to an amputation of his left leg.

His amputation came following the development of a harmful ulcer which had formed on his heel and the gentleman alleged there had been a delay in diagnosing and treating his condition. The gentleman had diabetes.

I have spoken with many clients in similar situations and it is often the case that they, and even some healthcare professionals, do not appreciate the serious risk that a small blister or small foot wound could develop into a foot ulcer and possibly lead to more severe injury, including advanced amputations. 

According to Diabetes UK, foot ulcers affect as many as 1 out of 10 people with diabetes. It is therefore incredibly important that those with diabetes take foot care seriously.

It can be difficult for some diabetic people to even know that they have a foot problem unless they frequently check and examine them. It is recommended that people with diabetes check their feet daily.

This is because of a condition called diabetic neuropathy, which simply means damage to the nerves or loss of circulation in the extremities of the body. Not all diabetic people will have diabetic neuropathy but if a person does, it means the sensation in their feet can be reduced or even numb.

Therefore, it is not uncommon for those with diabetic neuropathy to suffer injuries to their feet without being aware. For instance, it is possible for someone with diabetes to step on a sharp object which pierces the skin and not feel it, or even burn their foot and not feel it.

If you have trouble checking your own feet, it is perhaps worthwhile asking someone to help you check them. Diabetes UK advises to check for any of the following signs of foot damage:

• Cuts
• Bruising
• Swelling
• Grazes
• Sores
• Changes in colour
• Ulceration
• Hard Skin (including any cracking from the dry skin)

It is important that if you have any concerns about your feet, that you seek professional advice as soon as possible.

In addition to checking your feet daily, there are other ways in which you can help yourself and try to prevent or reduce the risk of diabetic foot complications developing.

These include:

• Attending your NHS check-ups.

If you’re diabetic, you should receive regular check-ups from a healthcare professional at least once a year. If you have signs of diabetic neuropathy or have poor blood circulation, you may have check-ups more regularly.

When your feet are examined, they will not only be checked for physical signs of damage but also signs of neuropathy, and the blood circulation.

It is important to attend your check-ups as nerve damage can come on very gradually and it may not always be easy to spot.

• Complying with your prescribed medication. 

It is important that if you have been prescribed medication for your diabetic condition that you take it. If your blood sugar levels are under control, the risk of developing complications is reduced.

• Ensuring a healthy diet and lifestyle, including exercise

Eating a healthy balanced diet and keeping active can help to manage diabetes and reduce the risk of complications with your feet and legs.

 

Lauren Gowing