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Diabetes and Feet

How does Diabetes affect the foot?

Neuropathy

Neuropathy is the name given to damage to the nerves in the feet. It is a common complication with diabetes and once it has occurred it cannot be reversed. It can lead to dry skin, discomfort or pain, even deformity or loss of sensation which makes the feet feel numb. This makes them vulnerable to injury, often leading to a foot ulcer.

Poor blood supply

Ischaemia is the name for a lack of oxygen or blood to the skin. This occurs when arteries of the lower leg become narrow or blocked so blood cannot flow easily. This is known as peripheral vascular disease (PAD). If the circulation is poor any injury to the skin may struggle to heal. Gangrene occurs when the skin dies . Smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol make the circulation worse.

Infection

Diabetes alters the body’s ability to fight infection. This means that not only are the feet more prone to infection, but also it is more difficult to get rid of infection once it has established. You should seek medical advice from your GP, your practice nurse or Foot Healthcare Practitioner AT ONCE if your feet show any sign of infection such as PAIN, SWELLING, PUS,REDNESS, HEAT.

Simple self-care measures include:

  • Always check your feet every day

  • Clean and dress any cuts, scratches or wounds

  • Always wear footwear

  • Always wear shoes that fit properly

  • Never sit with your feet too close to a fire

  • Visit a Foot Healthcare Practitioner

for corns and calluses

  • Avoid using corn plasters

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