Your Essential Guide to Diabetic Foot Care

While managing blood sugar levels and diet are typically top of mind for individuals with diabetes, diabetic foot care  deserves just as much attention. Why? Because diabetes can have a knock-on effect on your foot health, putting you at risk for serious complications like nerve damage, poor circulation, ulcers, infections, and even amputations if not properly managed. In this post, we’ll explore why foot care is a non-negotiable part of diabetes management, and we’ll share practical tips to help you keep your feet healthy.

Diabetic foot care – Preventative measures

Being proactive means taking charge of your foot health to minimise the likelihood of complications associated with diabetes. By implementing preventive measures, individuals can significantly enhance their overall well-being and maintain a higher quality of life. Here are the critical components of prevention to take into consideration:

  • Blood glucose management: Keeping blood sugar levels within target ranges through consistent monitoring and appropriate management is essential, to reduce the risk of nerve damage and circulation problems that can go on to affect foot health.
  • Daily foot checks: Perform a thorough inspection of your feet every day, checking for any signs of redness, swelling, cuts, blisters, or other abnormalities. If you have difficulty seeing the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or ask a family member for assistance.
  • Proper hygiene: Wash your feet daily with lukewarm water and mild soap, then gently pat them dry, paying special attention to the spaces between your toes. Avoid soaking your feet for prolonged periods, as this can lead to dryness and skin breakdown.
  • Hydration and moisturisation: Keeping the skin on your feet well-hydrated is important for preventing dryness and cracking, which can lead to ulcers. Moisturise your feet regularly with a gentle lotion, focusing on areas prone to dryness.
  • Footwear selection: Opt for shoes that fit well, provide adequate support and cushioning, and have a wide toe box to prevent rubbing and pressure points. Avoid high heels, tight shoes, and shoes with pointed toes, as they can increase the risk of foot problems.

When to see a podiatrist

Below are some of the key signs that it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a podiatrist. This can help ensure your feet stay healthy whilst managing diabetes:

Diabetes diagnosis:

When diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to by schedule an initial consultation with a podiatrist. This early visit enables the podiatrist to evaluate your foot condition, discuss preventive strategies, and establish a baseline for ongoing care.

Foot pain:

When experiencing persistent foot pain, discomfort, or swelling, it’s important to seek professional evaluation. These symptoms may arise from various sources, including injuries, nerve damage (neuropathy), or diabetes-related complications. A podiatrist is equipped to diagnose the underlying cause of foot pain and recommend tailored treatment options to alleviate discomfort and address the root issue effectively.

Foot ulcers or wounds:

Foot ulcers or wounds require immediate attention, especially for individuals with diabetes, as they are at higher risk of developing serious complications. If you notice any ulcers, wounds, or sores on your feet that are slow to heal or exhibit signs of infection such as redness, warmth, or drainage, it’s crucial to seek prompt care from a podiatrist.

Treatment may involve debridement to remove dead or infected tissue, application of specialised dressings to promote healing, and offloading techniques to relieve pressure on the affected area. In some cases, advanced therapies such as topical medications, therapeutic footwear, or even surgical intervention may be necessary to facilitate healing.

Ingrown toenails and fungal infections:

Ingrown toenails and fungal infections are common foot problems that can cause discomfort and lead to complications, particularly for individuals with diabetes. It’s essential to address these issues promptly to prevent further complications.

Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, swelling, and potential infection. For those with diabetes, ingrown toenails can pose a significant risk due to impaired circulation and decreased sensation in the feet. A podiatrist can safely and effectively treat ingrown toenails by trimming the nail properly and, if necessary, performing a minor procedure to remove the ingrown portion of the nail.

Fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus) thrive in warm, moist environments and can cause itching, burning, and unsightly changes to the nails or skin. Individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to fungal infections due to compromised immune function and poor circulation. A podiatrist can diagnose fungal infections through visual inspection or laboratory tests and recommend appropriate antifungal treatments, including topical or oral medications.

Book a visit with Thames Foot Clinic

If you’re living with diabetes, we highly recommend visiting one of our friendly podiatrists. We understand the unique challenges that diabetes poses for foot care, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

During your appointment, our experienced podiatrists will conduct a comprehensive examination of your feet to assess their condition and identify any potential issues. We’ll take the time to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. Our goal is to provide you with personalised guidance on foot care practices that are tailored to your specific needs and lifestyle.

Don’t let diabetes-related foot issues go unnoticed or untreated. Take control of your foot health journey today by scheduling an appointment with Thames Foot Clinic.

 

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