The following hints and tips are adapted from Diabetes UK and while they focus upon diabetic foot health, a number are also pertinent to all patients.
1. Make sure that you attend your annual foot review. Your bare feet will be examined by an appropriately trained person such as a podiatrist. They will then be able to inform you of your risk of developing foot problems and whether referral to another health care professional is required.
2. Check your feet every day for any signs of redness, pain, damage to the skin, swelling or build up of hard skin. If you are unable to examine your feet then ensure that a family member or carer can do this for you. If problems are found early then the risk of complications can be reduced. If you find any of the above then it is important to have it checked with an appropriately trained health care professional.
3. Be aware of any loss of sensation in your feet. Don't go barefoot and avoid extremes of temperature if you think you have lost feeling in any part of your feet.
4. Always wear well fitting shoes that protect and support your feet and whenever possible don't wear shoes with bare feet. Foot shape changes as you age and it is important to be aware of changes which have occurred. If you are buying shoes, your feet become more swollen towards the latter part of the day - this is the best time to buy shoes as it represents your feet at their largest.
5. Look after your toenails. Don't cut down the sides of your nails as this could lead to an ingrowing toenail. If you have difficulty with your foot care then contact your local podiatrist for advice and assistance.
6. Avoid the use of corn plasters and self treatment of hard skin with blades as these may damage your skin. Always seek advice and assistance from a podiatrist.
7. Always wash your feet daily with a good quality moisturising soap followed by thorough drying, especially between the toes. This prevents the build up of fungus and bacteria which can lead to further problems. Use of a good quality moisturising cream afterwards can help to keep the skin healthy. For advice on moisturising creams ask your podiatrist.
8. Maintain a healthy and consistent blood glucose level. This ensures that your diabetes is well controlled as studies have shows that poor glucose control leads to complications such as nerve damage and circulatory problems. Your GP will ensure that you have appropriately spaced blood glucose checks and it is important that you attend for these.
9. Attend an education course to help you understand and manage your diabetes. Your should be offered and have the opportunity to attend courses in your local area.
10. Visit a podiatrist! Podiatrists can help to treat and maintain the health of your feet and are a valuable source of support and information.
If you have any problems with your feet and legs, or questions and queries regarding your foot health then please call 077 666 888 29 or 01562 51 56 61.