Foot care amongst diabetics is incredibly important. As many as 1 out of 10 diabetes sufferers are affected by foot ulcers at some point during their life time with diabetes.
Over time diabetics may suffer from a condition called diabetic neuropathy. This condition usually presents as peripheral neuropathy affecting the sensory nerves in the lower limbs. If this occurs and your nervous system becomes even slightly damaged, the extremities (feet/hands) of the body can become numb. As a result of peripheral neuropathy you may not be able to detect problems that have developed on your feet. In some cases these problems can become limb and/or life threatening. People with diabetes are also at an increased risk of peripheral vascular disease. This causes a reduced blood supply to the lower limb which can lead to impaired healing.
Detection and monitoring of diabetic neuropathy are an essential routine part of managing diabetes. As part of a diabetic review, our trained podiatrists will examine your feet to detect risk factors for ulceration. If any concerns arise that we are unable to manage, we are able to efficiently communicate with appropiate health services eg. your GP or district nurse.
A Diabetes Review will include:
Testing of foot sensation using a 10g monofilament and tuning fork
Palpation of foot pulses or if needed a doppler assessment
Inspection of any foot deformity and footwear
Classification of foot risk
Affects of diabetes to the lower limb
Bsc Hons Podiatry
HCPC registration CH31318
Definitions of the diabetic at risk foot:
no risk factors present except callus alone
non-critical lower limb ischaemia (reduced blood flow)
on renal placement therapy
neuropathy and non-critical lower limb ischemia together
neuropathy in combination with callus and/or deformity
non-critical lower limb ischaemia in combination with callus and/or deformity
Ulcerated foot - Emergency
Vascular - Blood Supply
People with diabetes can develop foot problems due to damage to blood vessels to the leg and feet. This means that injuries can take longer to heal as less blood gets to the skin, muscles and soft tissues. A severe disruption of the blood supply to the lower limb is known as Ischaemia. This occurs when an obstruction occurs in the arteries.
Cramping in the calves
Smooth shiny skin
Loss of hair on the legs and feet
Pale cold feet
Skin colour changes of the feet
Foot pain upon elevation, eg when going to bed
Neurological - Nerves
Long term or poorly controlled diabetes can cause damage to the nerves (neuropathy). Neuropathy is usually divided into 2 categories
Peripheral Neuropathy which affects the nerve supply to muscles and skin.
Autonomic Neuropathy which affects
Tingling or buzzing in the feet (parasthesia)
Pins and needles (dyethesia) which can become an intense or burning sensation. It can be intermittant or canstant depending on the amount of nerve damage and the nerves affected.
Muscle pain different from above, more spread out and feels like cramp.
Loss of temperature perception - the feet become more sensitive to cold but less sensitive to heat.
Exaggerated sensitivity to the skin (hyperesthesia). Wearing socks or tights can become very uncomfortable and minor trauma can be very painful.
Diabetic foot care advice
What to check for
Redness or any changes in skin colour
Cuts or blisters
Pain or discomfort
Discharge coming from a wound
Place a mirror on the floor so you can check the bottom of your feet
Never walk barefoot.
Wear appropriate good fitting shoes for the acitivity.
Wash feet daily in warm soapy water - not hot especially of you have impaired sensation
Dont soak your feet for too long.
Dry your feet gently, in particular between your toes.
Rub a foot moisturiser on the top and bottom of your feet.
Do not rub moisturiser in between your toes - it will make the skin too moist.
Do not walk barefoot.
Wear only good fitting shoes.
Wear in new shoes slowly.
Cut toe nails straight across - not into the corners.
Do not use heating pads, hot water bottles on the feet.