Tips to minimise the risk of foot problems with diabetes
Raised blood sugar levels can cause problems with sensation and circulation so those with diabetes are more likely to suffer from problems with their feet.
Foot problems associated with diabetes
There are two specific complications of diabetes that can affect the feet:
- peripheral arterial disease – a common condition resulting in poor circulation in the feet
- peripheral neuropathy – nerve damage in the feet.
Symptoms for these conditions include:
- the condition of the skin may change resulting in cracks or splits in the feet which may be open to infection
- a lack of sensation in the feet which may mean a simple injury such as a shoe rubbing will not be felt
- the shape of the feet may change – thickened skin may form in areas that experience pressure or rubbing and the pressure may cause damage to underlying tissue
There is an unfortunate statistic that states around 10% of diabetics may develop a foot ulcer. Ulcers are wounds or sores on the skin that are slow to heal, can extend to deeper tissue and are prone to becoming infected. In some cases, the affected area has to be surgically removed – this can include amputation.
Tips to minimise the risk of foot problems with diabetes
There are self-help ways you can minimise the risk of developing foot problems. These include:
- quitting smoking – as smoking affects blood circulation
- keeping a check on your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and most importantly keeping your blood glucose under control
- monitoring your feet every day to check for any change in colour, swelling, breaks in the skin, pain or loss of feeling
- bathing and cleaning your feet every day with warm water and soap
- drying your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes
- moisturising your feet every day – but wipe away any excess lotion in between the toes
- ensuring your toenails are a comfortable length and cut straight across – use an emery board if there are any sharp edges
- regularly visiting a specialist in foot care for treatment for corns and calluses
- wearing shoes and socks that fit well, support your feet and keep them dry and warm
- not walking barefoot
Along with your diabetes diagnosis you would have been offered a yearly foot care check by your doctor, nurse or podiatrist.
What happens at an annual foot care check?
Your healthcare professional will examine your feet to assess circulation, sensation, skin and toenail condition along with any other problems such as ulcers. They may also advise you on appropriate footwear.
If your healthcare professional believes that you are at risk of developing foot problems then you may be referred to:
- a podiatrist
- an orthoptist
- a diabetologist – who specialises in complications of the lower limb
- a surgeon – who specialises in diabetic foot problems
- a nurse specialist in diabetes and dressing foot wounds
- a tissue viability nurse
These healthcare professionals will follow up with you more frequently.
AXA PPP healthcare plans are not designed to cover chronic diseases, such as diabetes, we can support our members with any health conditions or concerns via the telephone information and support service delivered by our Health at Hand team.
If you are concerned about your feet and you have diabetes then we would advise that you make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible.
Learn more on how to check your blood pressure here
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA Health to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Click below to submit your query online.
* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.
Latest posts by AXA Health (see all)
- Strategies to help change our attitude towards food - January 10, 2021
- Ideas for turkey leftovers - December 23, 2020
- Vegan friendly Christmas - December 18, 2020
- Does using your tablet give you shoulder pain? - November 23, 2020
- How to keep in tip top condition during winter - November 1, 2020
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!