Diabetes and Footcare
It’s a sad statistic that just in the last year the number of people in the UK with Diabetes has reached over 4 million, an increase of 119,965 on the previous year.
Many people with Diabetes live happy, healthy and problem free, but there is much concern that many may experience preventable Diabetes related complications, including amputations. So why are our feet at such risk and how can we prevent such life-limiting consequences?
Neuropathy (nerve damage)
High glucose levels in the body for prolonged periods of time can lead to the nerve losing the substance coating the nerves called myelin. This means that there can be a reduction or loss in the messages getting to and from the brain. It most commonly starts in the longest nerves in the body – the ones to and from the feet. Damage to the sensory, motor and autonomic nerves means a loss of ability to feel pain, temperature or vibration, cause a reduction in the secretions produced in the skin leading to very dry skin which splits easily and alteration to the function of small intrinsic muscles of the feet resulting in joints changing shape. This can mean the foot is more prone to pressure, injury or rubbing and any increase in pressure or damage done may not be felt at the time.
High glucose levels can also lead to atherosclerosis and calcification of blood vessels. This ‘furring up’ of arteries and resulting reduction in blood supply to the feet means a reduction in the ability to heal from any damage to the foot and a reduction in the immune system’s ability to fight infections.
How can I protect my feet?
-Always wear footwear and never go barefoot.
-Wear well-fitting supportive footwear with a fastening and plenty of room for toes.
-Check feet daily for any cuts rubs blisters or wounds.
-Clean and dress any wounds to prevent infection.
-Avoid sitting with feet too close to fire.
-Check temperature of bathing water carefully.
-Avoid using medicated corn plasters.
-Attend a our qualified Podiatrist for treatment including an annual Diabetic foot check to assess, advise and monitor the risk status of your feet.
For further information on diabetes please visit www.diabetes.org.uk