Why do diabetics need to look after their feet?
Diabetes may affect your feet in a number of ways and in some cases may lead to serious complications.
One of the early changes may be loss of sensation in your feet starting in your toes. This is called peripheral neuropathy. It can be gradual, and go unnoticed which is why it is important that you have a diabetic foot assessment annually by a podiatrist. At Howlett & Dickinson we provide all our diabetic clients with a free annual diabetic foot assessment, the results are then forwarded to your GP.
Occasionally there may be pain or a burning sensation accompanying loss of feeling, this is called painful neuropathy.
When your nerves in your feet are affected other changes may follow e.g. clawing of the toes and the bones in your feet may be more susceptible to fracture.
At your annual foot review any early signs of neuropathy will be detected, and you will receive both advice and explanation of these changes.
Another change that may occur is reduced blood flow to the feet. Diabetes may also affect your ability to heal and reduce your bodies natural ability to fight bacteria, therefore you should take care of any cuts, scratches or blisters on your feet.
If you are a low risk diabetic one check up per year is adequate. However if you are at increased risk of complications these inspections should be done more regularly.
At Howlett & Dickinson we check the pulses manually and using a Doppler of the feet to check circulation and check for loss of sensation in the feet.
We also look for any foot deformity or signs of excessive pressure that may warrant foot care advice. We remove hard skin and corns and sometimes the provision of corrective or protective insoles is necessary.