Diabetes is more likely to develop as people get older. Some people with diabetes have poor blood circulation and reduced sensation in their feet. Poor blood circulation means that any cuts , etc will not heal as well and may become more easily infected. These people also need to attend to dry skin on their feet which is more likely to crack and cause infection.
People with diabetes can lose the feeling in their feet which makes them vulnerable to injuries eg , stepping on a tack. Feet which lack sensitivity need to be visually checked once a day to ensure no injury has occurred. If you cannot see clearly , someone else should look for you.
Anyone who has diabetes will need to get their feet checked by a podiatrist so that they know how healthy their feet are or how carefully they need to be in future. This should be done ideally at least once a year or as advised .
What is an ulcer ?
Ulcers are woundsor open sores that do not heal in a week or keep returning
What causes Ulcers .
*Having diabetes increases your risk of developing a foot ulcer .
*Poor circulation means your foot and lower leg take longer to heal
* About 15% of people with Diabetes will develop a foot ulcer.
* Foot ulcers that do not heal can lead to amputation
* foot ulcers are the main reason most people with diabetes go to hospital
* Loss of feeling in your feet and / or lower leg may mean you will not notice a wound
Am I at risk of foot complications ?
If you have diabetes you are at risk
If you are in a low risk group , you feet should be medically checked every year
If you are in a higher risk group , your Podiatrist should check your feet at each visit ( every 3-6 mths)
Your podiatrist will also look at the following things to assess your risk
What can I do ?
Poor fitting shoes causes most wounds and foot damage.
And checks on your feet.
They may be useful as fashion statements or weapons of defence, but walking in high heels also increases the risk of getting arthritis in the knees
A study by researcher s published in “ The Lancet” ( noted international medical journal ) reveals that women wearing shoes with heels up to 6.4 cm put enough strain in their knees to cause osteoarthritis which is twice as common in women as it is in men .
The daily demands of your job.- walking standing for long periods , lifting, jumping on or off machinery – all place your feet under pressure. While you are working your feet may absorb up to three times your body weight and working feet can travel up to 24 kilometres in a day!
The work environment itself can create health risks for your feet.
Hazardous conditions – oily or slippery floors, wet conditions, or extreme heat or cold – put feet at risk of injury and can lead to foot problems
Stress fractures, sprains , strains, corns , calluses, ingrown toenails , chilblains ,and tinea are some of the foot problems , which can occur in the workplace or be aggravated at work .
Problems such as calluses , corns , blisters can be caused by pressure.
If your feet do not fit properly into standard shoes or boots, then you are more likely to experience pressure related foot problems. Deep aches or pains in the arch , ball of the foot or heel may be related to muscle strain, which is associated with poor foot posture – correcting or improving foot posture can reduce foot strain .
Even minor irritations can reduce your mobility and productivity.
It is important to seek help for all foot ailments including sore and tired feet.
Individual assessment and advice from a podiatrist is recommended.
Our feet are often the most neglected and forgotten part of our bodies . research has shown that people are more likely to service their car than to have their feet checked by a podiatrist .
Yet our feet are our main mode of transport, carrying us on a journey of 128, 000 kilometres in a lifetime – the equivalent to three times around the world.
Who are podiatrists ?
Podiatrists are university – educated foot health professionals , They diagnose and treat specific foot and lower limb conditions including foot problems associated with arthritis and diabetes.
Why do feet need specialist care?
Our feet are very complex – they house a quarter of the bones in the body, as well as a network of muscles ,ligaments and joints . they are also vulnerable to injury and disease; there are over three hundred identified foot ailments. While our feet suffer wear- by the age of fifty ,our feet have lost up to half the shock – absorbing capability of the natural foot pad they can not be replaced like a pair of shoes.
Some feet have special needs – children’s feet, sporting feet. Working feet , mature feet and feet affected by disease .