People with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing foot problems. Raised blood glucose levels can affect circulation which leads to less blood supply to the feet. As a result, this can damage sensation in the feet which can cause significant problems.
When sensation in the feet is damaged, it can be much harder to detect injuries like cuts and sores. This means that such injuries have a greater chance of developing into something worse and there may be problems with them healing. A lack of treatment can lead to: foot ulcers, infections and in the worst-case scenario amputations.
Minor issues can develop into something more serious. In these instances, emergency medical attention is required. Signs of serious foot problems include:
- Pain or burning sensations
- Changes in colour and shape of the feet
- Blisters or cuts that can be seen but you can’t feel them
- Loss of feeling in the feet or legs
- Cold or hot feet
- Wounds or sores that won’t heal
- Shiny and smooth skin on the feet
- Foul smell from an open wound
- Tingling sensation in the feet
- Less sweaty feet
- Cramps in the calves whilst resting
- Hair loss on the legs and feet
If any of these symptoms appear, it is advised that you take the weight off your feet and immediately contact your healthcare professional. This may be your GP or a member of your foot protection team. In the even that serious foot problems arise out of hours, visit your nearest out of hours healthcare centre or call 111.
Luckily, most foot problems are avoidable through good care and consistent checking. Anyone with diabetes should have a foot check once a year, completed by a healthcare professional. However, if there is an urgent or serious problem, do not wait for this appointment, you must see someone immediately.
Additionally, simply knowing the signs of foot problems and checking them every day will be an effective act in prevention. You should also take care when cutting your toe nails to avoid injury. Refrain from using corn plasters or blades on your feet. Visit a podiatrist to deal with things like corns.