Foot complaints are one of the leading causes of hospitalization of people with diabetes. People who suffer with diabetes are at more risk of developing ulcers of the foot and leg due to circulatory problems. Your doctor or diabetic nurse will also advise you to have regular checks with a Foot Professional or Podiatrist.
Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to your feet and cause a loss of feeling known as peripheral neuropathy. This can mean foot injuries do not heal well, and you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured which could lead to infections.
Over a long period of time high blood glucose levels can cause damage to different areas of your body and this includes your feet and legs. High blood glucose levels can cause damage to the nerve systems in your body, which stops important messages getting to and from your brain. The nerves in your body that are most likely to be affected are the longest ones – those that have to reach all the way to your feet and legs. Damage to your nerves is the thing most likely to affect your feet if you have diabetes.
The other important reason why some people with diabetes develop foot problems is because high blood glucose levels can also damage your blood vessels. This can affect the blood supply (circulation) to your feet and legs and may mean that less blood gets to your skin, muscles and tissues.
The risk of complications can be greatly reduced if blood sugar levels are kept under control and ensuring that your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are also monitored and well controlled.
It is also important that nails are not cut too short and the skin around the nail is not broken as this could easily lead to infection in the diabetic foot.
A regular foot and vascular assessment is provided by FootHealth4U as part of your essential foot maintenance programme. This will include regular cutting of nails and management of skin conditions, advice on foot care to prevent any problems.
Because damage to the nerves and blood supply to your feet happens gradually, it’s important to know what to look for and how to spot the signs of any change. By checking your feet regularly you can spot the signs of any damage early. This means that you can get help quickly and can prevent the damage from getting any worse. There are a number of different things for you to look out for. These are the main ones:
Changes to nerves: Sweating less, feet may look red and feel hot to the touch, numbness, tingling or pins and needles, hard skin, changes in the shape of your feet, losing sense of the position of your feet and legs.
Changes to blood supply: Cold, pale feet, wounds or sores, thickened toenails, losing hair on your feet and legs, cramp in your calves, change in the colour of the skin on your feet, shiny, smooth skin, pain in your feet.
On your first visit to Foothealth4u, you will receive a free neurovascular assessment where I will check your blood flow and nerves and refer on to your GP if necessary.