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The Diabetic Foot

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, then you are more prone or at risk to develop foot problems. Foot conditions in people with diabetes are often more serious than in those who do not have diabetes.

High or higher levels of blood glucose over a long period of time can result in harm to the body and its functions. In the feet, the nerves and the blood supply may both be adversely affected as a result of diabetes. Nerve damage in the feet and legs may result in reduced sensation or a loss of sensation so increasing the risk that trauma or injury to the foot may not be noticed, thus leading to a more serious complication. Feet may seem cold or have weak pulses indicating a poor circulation so providing for a reduced healing ability.

Some very basic measures can be taken to promote care of the diabetic foot:

• Check your feet daily for any cuts, swelling, scratches or discolouration
• Keep your feet clean and washed daily
• With reduced sensation, be cautious not to burn your feet in hot water that you are unable to detect
• Take great care when cutting your toe nails if your eyesight is impaired, your sensation is reduced or your circulation is poor
• Corns and callus are pressure areas that should be treated regularly
• Footwear should fit well and be checked each day that there is no object within such as a stone that may cause injury during wearing of your shoes
• If you are a smoker – STOP or get help to cease smoking as it notably worsens circulation

A full diabetic review will provide for a personal written diabetic foot care plan with recommendations that will promote a regular scan to ensure that any necessary treatment is carried out on a suitable frequency with any appropriate referrals, footwear modifications or indeed obtaining bespoke footwear if required together with any other interventions to maintain optimal diabetic foot health.

If you have a long-term condition such as diabetes, you may be eligible to see a National Health Service podiatrist at least once a year for assessment.

If you are diabetic and have a concern about your foot health, we at the Oxford Foot and Ankle Centre, will be happy to examine, assess and advise on a personal diabetic treatment plan given your particular foot health profile.