Diabetes – how can it affect my feet & what is my risk of developing a foot problem?

Over the next few months we will be looking at various aspects of diabetic foot care including the questions you should ask about your risk of developing a foot problem e.g.

  1. How often do I need to have a foot check?
  2. How can diabetes affect my feet? What is my risk of developing a foot problem and how have you calculated this?
  3. How will I know if my risk changes?
  4. What should I do if I think I’ve got a foot problem?
  5. What is the best way of looking after my feet?
  6. Can you advise me about shoes, socks and insoles?
  7. Are there any changes to my lifestyle that I need to make?
  8. How can managing my diabetes help?
  9. Why are you referring me to someone else? What will they do?
  10. How often do I need to have a foot check?

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends annual monitoring of blood glucose, blood pressure, total cholesterol, kidney and eye screening and an assessment of lower limb for all people with diabetes.

Having a diagnosis of diabetes will put you at increased risk of foot problems. It is therefore very important to understand just how diabetes can affect your feet and your Risk Level.

Foot examinations should be carried out by a trained healthcare professional. A foot examination will:

  • establish if you have any foot problems at present
  • examine your foot shape and footwear to see whether you may be at risk of rubbing or pressure
  • check your skin for changes in colour and look for ulcers, sores, areas of hard skin and any signs of inflammation or infection
  • test the feeling in your feet to see how well the nerves are working
  • take the pulse in each of your feet to check the blood flow
  • work out your risk (low, moderate or high) of developing a diabetic foot problem.

Following the foot examination, you will understand why your feet have been classed as Low, Medium or High Risk of developing foot complications in the future and how to look after your feet. Those at Low Risk will be checked annually, Medium Risk, every 3-6 months and High Risk every 1-2 months.

If the foot check shows that you don’t have any foot problems, you will still need to have a foot check every year.

If your feet have not been screened and checked by a trained healthcare professional in the last year then you should contact your foot health provider, in the first instance, or GP.

The answer to question 2.

2. How can diabetes affect my feet? What is my risk of developing a foot problem and how have you calculated this?

Diabetes, once diagnosed, is a lifelong, vascular condition which can cause foot problems if the nerves and /or blood vessels become damaged.

Diabetes can affect:

  • The feeling in your feet (neuropathy)
  • The circulation in your feet (ischemia)

Often the changes are so gradual they may go unnoticed. It is therefore important to have your feet screened regularly by a trained health professional.

Controlling diabetes, cholesterol, BP, quitting smoking, increasing exercise and controlling weight will all help to reduce the risk of developing life and limb-threatening problems.

Developing a foot ulcer is serious as it is related to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and amputations of foot or leg. It is therefore important to know what your risk is of developing a foot complication and potentially a foot ulcer.

What is YOUR Risk of developing foot complications and foot ulcers?

LOW RISK 

  1. There is NO significant nerve damage
  2. There is NO significant blood vessel damage
  3. There is NO history of foot ulceration (a break in the skin that struggles to heal)
  4. There is NO foot deformity
  5. Vision is NORMAL
  6. Your Action Plan: Agree a self-management plan and visit a podiatrist/chiropodist annually

MODERATE RISK

  1. There is some loss of feeling in the feet
  2. The circulation in the feet is reduced
  3. There is hard skin on your feet
  4. The shape of your foot has changed
  5. Vision is affected
  6. You struggle to look after your feet
  7. Your Action Plan: Take extra care of your feet. Have your feet checked by a podiatrist/chiropodist or health care professional every 3-6 months. This will reduce your risk of developing any diabetes-related complications in the future.

HIGH RISK

  1. There is some loss of feeling in the feet
  2. The circulation in the feet is reduced
  3. There is hard skin on your feet
  4. The shape of your foot has changed
  5. Vision is affected
  6. You are unable to look after your feet yourself
  7. There is a history of foot ulceration
  8. There is a history of amputation
  9. You are receiving renal replacement therapy (dialysis)
  10. Your Action Plan: Take extra care of your feet and have your feet checked by a podiatrist/ chiropodist or health care professional every 1-2 months

Call Courtyard Footcare today on 01926 865985 or book an appointment online

Diabetes – looking at the various aspects of diabetic footcare

Over the next few months we will be looking at various aspects of diabetic foot care including the questions you should ask about your risk of developing a foot problem e.g.

  1. How often do I need to have a foot check?
  2. How can diabetes affect my feet? What is my risk of developing a foot problem and how have you calculated this?
  3. How will I know if my risk changes?
  4. What should I do if I think I’ve got a foot problem?
  5. What is the best way of looking after my feet?
  6. Can you advise me about shoes, socks and insoles?
  7. Are there any changes to my lifestyle that I need to make?
  8. How can managing my diabetes help?
  9. Why are you referring me to someone else? What will they do?
  10. How often do I need to have a foot check?

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends annual monitoring of blood glucose, blood pressure, total cholesterol, kidney and eye screening and an assessment of lower limb for all people with diabetes.

Having a diagnosis of diabetes will put you at increased risk of foot problems. It is therefore very important to understand just how diabetes can affect your feet and your Risk Level.

Foot examinations should be carried out by a trained healthcare professional. A foot examination will:

  • establish if you have any foot problems at present
  • examine your foot shape and footwear to see whether you may be at risk of rubbing or pressure
  • check your skin for changes in colour and look for ulcers, sores, areas of hard skin and any signs of inflammation or infection
  • test the feeling in your feet to see how well the nerves are working
  • take the pulse in each of your feet to check the blood flow
  • work out your risk (low, moderate or high) of developing a diabetic foot problem.

Following the foot examination, you will understand why your feet have been classed as Low, Medium or High Risk of developing foot complications in the future and how to look after your feet. Those at Low Risk will be checked annually, Medium Risk, every 3-6 months and High Risk every 1-2 months.

If the foot check shows that you don’t have any foot problems, you will still need to have a foot check every year.

If your feet have not been screened and checked by a trained healthcare professional in the last year then you should contact your foot health provider, in the first instance, or GP.  At Courtyard Footcare, we are trained in and can provide diabetic footcare advice. Get in touch today to book your footcare assessment.

Our September News Update is out…

Summary of this month’s news:

  • Find out what is Kate’s favourite place to visit in the UK.
  • Susan tells you more about her summer activities!
  • Leigh shows you pictures of his “nearly finished” kitchen and shows you someone he met whilst on holiday!
  • Check out our September Product Offer.
  • If you love Strictly Come Dancing then read our top tips on how to ensure your feet are dance ready.

View our September news update here:

It’s the start of Strictly season! Read our Footcare Advice for dancers and party goers

The nights are drawing in, children are heading back to school, festive tubs of sweets are creeping onto supermarket shelves, which can only mean one thing… a new series of Strictly Come Dancing is on its way! While we will cover advice for walkers and runners in other blogs, what foot care advice can we give to dancers? 

Probably the most important piece of advice is to make sure you have strong feet to start with, particularly, strong arches. This simple exercise stretches and strengthens the arch to ensure your feet provide a stable base for the rest of your body (useful for everyone, not just dancers).

Argentine TangoThe next thing to think about is footwear – comfort AND style are not always easy to find in a pair of dancing shoes, particularly for ladies. Key things to look for a heel that is not too high or narrow, a sole that is not too thin, and an insole that provides some cushioning, particularly under the ball of the foot. Extra cushioning can be provided by the wearing of gel pads. See the Simply Feet website for a good selection of GelX products (a selection of which we keep in stock at the clinic), or Technogel pads which are self-adhesive and stick directly to the foot. These can be used over and over again – the adhesive is regenerated by washing in mild soapy water and allowing to air dry. These are also available from the clinic, or from Footcaresupplies

After you have fox trotted, salsa’d or boogied the night away, how do you revive your tired, aching trotters?

A soothing footbath, preferably with a handful of Epsom salts (the magnesium is great for aching muscles) will make your feet feel happier. Then whilst seated, try rolling a tennis ball, or even better, one of our spiky Physioworx balls, under each foot. Backwards and forwards, round and round, under the arch will give them a great massage. Ask us for more details when you are next in the Clinic.

So as the late, great Brucie used to say “Keeeeep dancing!”

Arch Strengthening Exercises for Dancing Feet!

 

Why Do This Exercise?

To strengthen the muscles in the bottom of your feet. A strong arch will support your body better and help improve your gait. This exercise is particularly good for those suffering from heel pain as it will help to relieve your symptoms more quickly than just stretching alone.

How to do this exercise

Arch Strengthening

1. Stand with your feet hip width apart, on a step with toes elevated.

2. Slowly raise both heels as high as you can manage (min. 3 seconds).

3. Hold at the top for 2 seconds.

4. Slowly lower both heels as far as possible (take min. 3 seconds to lower).

 

How Often?

Repeat 5 times once a day to start with, building up to 10 times. When this feels easier, progress to performing the exercise standing on one foot (as shown in the photos) which will really intensify the exercise.

NOTE:  Keep safe by using a chair or bench to hold on to.

Our August Newsletter is out!

Summary of our August 2017 news:

  • Find out what Kate’s Kitten Boo has been up to this month!
  • Susan tells you how to look after your feet if you have been diagnosed with diabetes
  • Leigh reiterates the importance of wearing correct footwear
  • Check out our August Product Offer

Read more

New School Shoes – the most important piece of uniform to get right!

Ok, so the kids might only have just broken up from school, but the shops all have their ‘Back to School’ promotions up and running! Later this month you will probably be faced with the dreaded new school shoes purchase.

Although it is a headache, school shoes are probably the most important piece of uniform to get right. The bones in the feet of children don’t fully develop until the age of 18. At birth, the foot contains 22 partially developed bones. By age 5, these will have divided into 45 bones. By the age of about 18, many of these will have fused together and the adult foot contains 26 fully ossified bones.

As children wear their school shoes for 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week, it is important to get shoes that fit well, provide adequate support and have sufficient growing room to prevent toes becoming cramped. Factor in the child’s desire to have fashionable shoes, shoes with toys in the soles, the same pair that their friend has etc. etc. – it can be a minefield!

For more information about growing feet and a directory of shoe shops who have highly qualified shoe fitters visit Fit Kid Shoes

Our July Newsletter is out…

A summary of July’s News

  • The latest antics from Kate’s kitten, Boo.
  • Leigh tells you his top tips on finding the right shoes for your feet
  • Susan explains how you can prevent and treat cracked heels
  • Save yourself 10% on selected footcare products when you use our VOUCHER CODE

Read more here

Dry Heels – What’s the craic?

Now that Summer’s here it can be lovely to don sandals and expose our feet. But this is not always the case especially with cracked or dry heels, also known as heel fissures. Fissures are splits in the epidermis resulting from a loss of elasticity in the skin or a change in its texture and strength due to changes in hydration. They are commonly found on the outer edge of the heel which often appear hard, dry and flaky, sometimes causing deep fissures that can be painful and bleed.

Dry cracked heelsThe body moisturises the skin naturally by producing natural oils that keeps the skin supple. When the feet become dry, callouses—dry, thickened skin cells—build up which are prone to cracking and splitting. Heel fissures can affect anyone. Young people can develop fissures from consistently walking barefoot and wearing sandals or open-backed shoes while medical conditions, such as psoriasis, diabetes, kidney and thyroid disease can cause a loss of moisture in the feet. Because skin loses its elasticity with age, the chances that callouses will crack and become fissures is more prevalent in the elderly.  Excess weight places additional pressure on the feet and can increase tensile stress.

If heel fissures go untreated on weight bearing, they can widen, bleed and become infected. This poses an increased risk for people with diabetes or compromised immune systems. Moisturizing the heels daily with a cream (rather than a lotion or oil) can prevent heel fissures. However, in the early stages using a pumice stone weekly can help to gently remove the hard, dry, flaky skin. Shoes with strong shock absorption can also help to improve the condition. With painful, bleeding fissures the thickened edged will need to be reduced professionally by your Podiatrist and the edges taped together until they heal. Creams containing urea, such as Simply Feet Heel Balm, Flexitol Moisturising Foam (both available from the clinic) or Dr. Ceuticals Cracked Heel Repair, to name but a few, are invaluable in managing heel problems in conjunction with debridement of the heels.

We wish you a comfortable Summer with heels that you can be proud of.