Home Health & Wellness Diabetes Week: How to Spot and Prevent Problems that Could Lead to Amputation

Diabetes Week: How to Spot and Prevent Problems that Could Lead to Amputation

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of lower limb amputations across the world, with the NHS reporting that diabetic patients are 15 times more likely to undergo an amputation than people without diabetes. But 85% of diabetes and lower limb amputations are avoidable with adequate diabetic care provided by healthcare professionals.

Ahead of Diabetes Week (9–15 June), Fletchers Solicitors are on a mission to raise awareness of the important measures diabetic patients can take to prevent amputation by creating a guide to diabetic foot care that covers:

  • A diabetic foot care checklist 
  • Identifying and treating foot problems early 
  • The role of diet and exercise in foot health
  • Innovations in diabetic foot care
  • What to do if amputation is required 
  • The impact of amputations on life 

Here are four steps to prevent diabetes-related foot problems:

1. Blood glucose management

Many of the health problems associated with diabetes can be managed by keeping on top of your blood sugar levels.

Use your blood glucose metre to check your levels at various times throughout the day. Keep a log of your blood sugar level readings and share them with your doctor. This will help them identify patterns in your condition so they can make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Take your medications as your doctor directs you, whether you’re on insulin, oral medications, or a combination of both. Speak to your doctor if your medication worries you or you start to experience side effects. 

2. Daily foot inspection and hygiene practices

Each day, set aside a specific time, like before or after you take a shower or bath, to thoroughly examine your feet. If you see any thickened skin, calluses, or corns on your feet, don’t try to remove them yourself. It’s better to ask your chiropodist instead, who can safely remove them for you. 

3. Choosing the Right footwear and socks

For people living with diabetes, wearing ill-fitting shoes and socks also poses a health risk: 

Buying shoes

When choosing shoes, make sure that they feel comfortable and there’s room for you to move and wiggle your toes. The “toe box” should be deep and wide to prevent rubbing or cramping of your feet. 

Your shoes need to be able to support your body weight, so make sure they fit firmly. Avoid shoes with narrow or pointed toes and high heels, as these offer little support to your feet.

It’s best to get your feet measured in store by a professional to ensure you get the right fit. Also, let the shop assistant know if you experience foot swelling, as they can help you find a larger shoe. 

Choosing the right socks

Avoid socks that have elastic bands around the top, as they can restrict your circulation. Instead, try to buy seamless socks made from moisture-wicking materials like cotton, wool or specialised diabetic sock materials. They draw sweat away from your skin, keeping your feet dry and reducing the risk of fungal infections and blisters.

4. Professional foot examinations and care

Another important part of any successful foot health regime are regular examinations from your doctor, consultant, or chiropodist. Even if you feel like everything is OK with your foot care regime, get them checked once a year.

If you do have a history of foot issues, neuropathy, or circulation problems, getting them checked every three to six months is better.

Prevention is always better than cure and these check-ups can identify potential issues a lot sooner, when they’re most treatable.

Identifying and treating foot problems early

If, during your daily checks, you notice any of the following symptoms on the tops, bottoms or sides of your feet or in the spaces between your toes, seek medical help as a priority:

  • Cuts, blisters, or sores that don’t heal within a few days
  • Changes in skin colour or temperature
  • Redness, swelling, or warmth in your feet or legs
  • Persistent pain or tingling in your feet
  • Ingrown toenails or fungal infections
  • Any changes in the shape or colour of your feet or toes

Minor foot issues can quickly escalate in people with diabetes, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution and speak with your GP or consultant.

© Copyright 2014–2034 Psychreg Ltd