Caring for the Diabetic Foot

For those suffering with diabetes taking care of your feet is especially important. Diabetes can have potential impacts on your feet ranging from;

  • Muscle weakness
  • Nerve damage e.g. loss of sensation, numbness/pins and needles
  • Blood flow/circulation issues

With increased risk of these and other issues occurring in the diabetic foot it is particularly important to take additional steps to help prevent any issues. Here are three simple tips to help keep you on your feet.

Step 1: Get checked by your podiatrist

Diabetes Australia suggests booking an appointment at least annually with the professionals in foot care. Your podiatrist is there to help advise and guide you on footwear choices, exercise programs and on any injuries or pain you may be experiencing. Your podiatrist will be able to assist you in the monitoring of your feet along with providing professional care for them on a regular basis.

Step 2: Check yourself

Daily foot checks are an excellent habit to get into. Keeping an eye on your feet and understanding what is normal for them is of the utmost importance for a diabetic patient. Be aware particularly of any sensation or even physical changes in the feet, as you may not actually be able to feel what is happening around your feet. I often suggest people check their feet at night while applying some moisturiser or using a mirror if you are unable to see the under surface of your foot. Checking your feet at night gives you an opportunity to look for any issues like blisters, redness, hard skin or bruising that may have been caused throughout the course of the day. Any changes in your feet like skin colour or swelling should be reported to your podiatrist and your GP as soon as possible for clarification on the issue and guidance in treatment.

Step 3: Protect your feet

Diabetics who have nerve or circulation issues should always wear shoes and socks to help protect from injury. For those who have a lower risk of complications, the fit of the shoe should be the highest priority. Assessing for appropriate length, width and also depth in the shoe will help prevent rubbing or blistering that could lead to further complications. When purchasing shoes, bear in mind that your feet tend to swell throughout the course of the day, so it’s best to try shoes on at the end of the day to allow for this.

Following these simple tips will keep you healthier and on your feet!

Josh Kinsman, Podiatrist