Caring for your feet

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Caring for your feet is an important part of looking after your diabetes. Diabetes can increase the risk of problems with your feet, so regular check-ups with your diabetes team or podiatrist is important.

What can I do to look after my feet?

Sometimes we forget about our feet. We need to wash, dry and moisturise our feet every day. Here are some helpful tips that you can practise at home to keep your feet healthy:

  • Wash your feet every day
  • Dry your feet well, paying particular attention to between the toes – moisture trapped in between the toes can lead to skin breakdown and infection
  • Moisturise your feet daily – do not apply creams in between your toes, this area needs to be kept dry
  • Look after your toenails – cut your nails straight across and gently file any rough edges. If your nails have thickened, see a podiatrist
  • Wear the correct foot wear – enclosed shoes are best that have adjustable fastening devices such as laces, Velcro or buckles. Enclosed shoes help prevent dry, cracked heels and protect the whole foot from injury
  • Make sure your shoes fits well, be sure they don’t cause blisters or rubbing and have a small heel height of less than 2cm
  • Wear well-fitting seamless socks or stockings

What are the complications I might see in my feet from diabetes?

Diabetes can affect the blood flow and nerves to your feet.

You have low-risk feet if you:

  • Have pulses in both feet
  • Do not have any nerve damage – burning, tingling or numb areas of the feet
  • Do not have any changes to the shape of your feet or changes to the skin colour – such as bright red or mottled

You have high-risk feet if you:

  • No pulses in your feet
  • Nerve damage: numbness, tingling or burning sensations
  • Changes to the shape or colour of your feet
  • Foot ulcer or amputation

It is important to have your feet checked regularly by a health professional. A podiatrist is a health professional that specialise in looking after feet.

If you have low-risk feet:

  • Have your feet checked at least once per year

If you have high-risk feet:

  • Have your feet checked at least every 6 months

See a health professional sooner if:

  • There is any sign of infection, skin breakdown, ulcer or cracking skin
  • There is new pain, swelling or redness, especially if you have nerve damage

For more information contact the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700 and ask to speak to a Diabetes Educator. 

Me is all about what you need to do for yourself, managing your diabetes and doing what you can.

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