Go to your annual review – everyone who has diabetes should have their feet checked at their annual review. A healthcare professional that has been specially trained to look after people with diabetes will do the check up with you. This could be a podiatrist, nurse or doctor.
During your review your podiatrist, nurse or doctor will look at your feet and check them to see if they are healthy or whether you could be risk of developing any problems. The blood and nerve supply to your legs and feet will both be looked at and you will also have your feet checked for any changes to their shape. You should also have your shoes checked to see whether they are right for you, or whether you may need to have some specially made. Make sure you wear your usual shoes for your appointment.
By always going to your appointments you will be able to find out about any nerve damage or blood supply problems early and can get advice on foot care, shoes and any problems you may be having. Even if you think a change may be small or not worth worrying about, always tell your health professional if you notice any changes to your feet.
Every six to twelve months it’s worth asking yourself the following questions and considering if anything has changed:
- You may not notice if you step on something sharp, develop a blister or cut yourself because you may not feel any pain. If you can’t feel heat or cold you could burn yourself without knowing, on a hot water bottle for example, or allow your feet to become very cold. If you don’t notice these things then you won’t be treating them, which means that a minor problem could become more serious.
- You might walk in a different way than you would normally because of changes to the nerves that send messages to the muscles in your feet. This change can increase the pressure on different areas your feet which can then lead to the development of hard skin or callus.
- You could develop very dry skin because you’re not sweating as much as usual. Moisturisers, if they are used every day, can help to prevent dry skin. Without moisturisers very dry skin can become cracked, which makes an infection more likely.
- You might develop different shaped feet. If the arch of your foot drops or your toes curl under you will start to put pressure on different parts of your foot, for example on the ball of your foot, the tops of your toes or on any bones that stick out. This pressure can cause a build up of hard skin. These changes to the shape of your foot can mean that it’s more difficult for you to find shoes that fit well and which don’t rub.
- A poor blood supply to your feet means that any injuries won’t heal as quickly as you would expect them to. This means that any wounds like cuts and blisters can become infected.