It is a staggering statistic that approximately 3.6 million Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes or are on the borderline of being diagnosed. Without proper management, Diabetes can cause nerve and blood-flow changes in the feet and lower limbs, which can put your feet to high risk of damage. These complications are more likely to happen in those who have had diabetes for many years, poor control of blood glucose levels and those who smoke.
Diabetes and Your Feet
Nerve changes in the feet are often indicated by a change in sensation - e.g. numbness, freezing or burning, pins and needles and tingling.
Blood-flow changes in the feet and lower limbs are indicated by a change in colour and temperature, poor healing, swelling of the feet and ankles, leg cramps whilst walking and diminished foot pulses.
Our podiatrists annually perform a thorough Diabetes Neurovascular assessment with all diabetes sufferers; so that we can ascertain whether or not these changes are present, and then treat and educate accordingly.
Once assessing the current status of the blood flow and nerve function, we then treat any problematic skin or nail conditions (such as ingrown toenails or corns) to prevent pressure areas and potential wounds from developing.
We recommend the following steps are taken to minimise any complications from occurring:
- Wash and dry you feet thoroughly and check you feet daily (especially on the soles and in between the toes). If you see anything unusual, speak to a podiatrist.
- Moisturise your feet with Sorbolene cream daily to prevent dry skin and cracks in the skin.
- Steer clear of medicated corn pads and foot scrapers - these can often do more harm than good.
- Wear breathable cotton socks with soft cuffs so that you don't cut off circulation to the feet.
- Cut your toenails straight across - avoid cutting down into the corners.
- Wear supportive and comfortable footwear. There are many styles available with no seams in the upper to minimise pressure areas. Always leave shoe shopping to the afternoon when your feet have reached their maximum swelling.
- If you feel unsure about treating your own feet - ask someone to help you or see your friendly podiatrist.
For more information, visit the Australian Diabetes Council website.