Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body is unable to use it properly. This is because the body’s method of converting glucose into energy is not working as it should.
Your feet are supplied with blood to keep them healthy. They also have a multitude of nerves that act as an emergency warning system. For example, if you have a stone in your shoe, nerves will send a message to your brain to investigate.
However, if your diabetes is poorly controlled for a long period of time, this may lead to:
Nerve damage may mean that you no longer notice the stone in your shoe, due to loss of sensation to your feet. This could then lead to an injury you can’t feel, and possibly infection.
Be treated seriouslyIf you have poor circulation, any injuries or infections to your feet (ie cuts, burns or scratches) will take longer to heal. This is due to less blood flowing into the arteries in your feet. Blood provides energy to working muscles and aids in healing any tissue damage.
If you have poor circulation, you will need to take extra care to protect your feet from injury.
Most foot problems in people who have diabetes occur when injuries — and often infections – go unnoticed and untreated, or when healing is delayed due to poor circulation.
A six monthly foot assessment by your podiatrist will help to detect any changes early — before they become a problem.
In an assessment, your podiatrist will examine your circulation by feeling foot pulses. They will also examine sensation by testing reflexes, vibration and pressure sensitivity.
Your podiatrist will also look for general foot conditions which may lead to future problems. They will work with you to show you how to monitor your own feet, in between consultations.
The best type of footwear fits well and protects your feet. Wherever possible, wear shoes to avoid injury.
Some other pointers: