Discover why diabetes affects your overall foot health and how you can improve it by focusing on your foot care.
Foot care is an afterthought to many of us. However, just because they might not be as visibly noticeable as our hair, face or body, it doesn’t mean they’re any less important.
Without healthy feet, walking becomes troublesome, balancing is a challenge and performing everyday tasks is no longer possible.
To make matters worse, diabetes can cause further issues. So, if you’ve recently been diagnosed, or you’d just like some top tips on how to look after your feet, here’s some valuable diabetes foot care guidance.
Why is foot care important for diabetics?
The presence of high blood glucose levels over a longer period, commonly associated with those with diabetes, can lead to diabetic neuropathy (damage to the nerves) or a loss of circulation in the extremities of the body.
As a result, you may find any foot injuries sustained might not heal well or your feet could lose sensation and become numb.
The problem with diabetes is that you often won’t feel any serious foot problems until they’ve fully developed, making it hard to remedy.
Common diabetic foot complications include:
- Foot ulcers
- Charcot foot
The good news is that there are many ways you can detect problems early on and stabilise your blood sugar levels to prevent any future issues. We've looked in more detail at the effects diabetes can have on your feet and put together a full free guide on the subject to help your footwear selection. You can download this guide here.
How to look after your feet if you have diabetes
Check your feet
You should regularly examine your own feet for any signs of damage, especially if you are suffering from poor circulation or numbness.
Tell-tale signs of foot damage include:
- Hard skin
- Bruising and sores
- Ulcers (or cracked dry skin that could develop into one)
- Grazes and cuts
Daily diabetes foot care
If possible, carry out a daily foot care routine:
- Wash your feet with lukewarm soapy water and dry them well.
- Moisturise your feet, avoiding between the toes.
- Check your feet for blisters, cuts and any other foot problems listed above.
- Clip or file your toenails (if required).
Never walk barefoot
Always avoid walking barefoot in the garden or on the beach on holiday. Not only do your foot muscles have to work harder, but you’re putting yourself at risk of causing damage that could worsen with diabetes.
When you’re sitting down, never cross your legs as this constricts your blood circulation to your feet too.
Wear well-fitted shoes and socks
When it comes to picking your shoes for daily use, don’t cut corners. Ill-fitting shoes can cause corns, ulcers, blisters and nail problems – which can escalate into big problems when you have diabetes.
Our range of Percy Strides are hand-crafted for comfort and designed with a wider fit to help reduce any rubbing. Plus, the Goodyear welt construction means you can get your cobbler to simply replace the sole before it starts to wear down and causes you any foot health problems.
It’s also important to stock up on luxury comfortable socks that fit just right to minimise any discomfort. We’ve assembled a list of our favourite gentleman’s socks here.
Other lifestyle changes
Smoking impairs the blood circulation, particularly for those with diabetes – causing further foot and leg problems. That’s why it’s essential that you kick the habit.
You can pick up some top tips on how to quit smoking via the NHS website.
Eat healthily and stay active
Always aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet and do plenty of exercises if you have diabetes. This can help you manage your condition and reduce the risk of getting problems with your feet.
Call for help
It’s not always possible to treat everything yourself. If you get corns or hard skin, make sure you call a podiatrist to help.
Generally, you should aim to have a regular check-up from a health professional at least once a year. However, if you have any signs of neuropathy or bad blood circulation, you may need to up this number.
A foot examination consists of checking for the development of neuropathy, current blood circulation and signs of damage.
Remember, while foot care may seem like an effort, you’ll soon regret it if the problem worsens. For more foot health tips, subscribe to our free newsletter below.
If you want more information on how to manage diabetes in regards to foot care or how to source bespoke shoemakers please download our FREE Footcare for Diabetes guide.