You will be assessed as being at moderate risk of developing foot ulcers if your foot screening has shown that you have one or more of the following risk factors:
- You have lost some feeling in your feet.
- The circulation in your feet is reduced.
- You have hard skin on your feet.
- The shape of your foot has changed.
- Your vision is impaired.
- You cannot look after your feet yourself.
Controlling your diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure and having your feet screened every year by a trained professional will help to reduce the risk of developing more problems with your feet.
If you smoke you are strongly advised to stop as smoking affects your circulation.
As your feet are at moderate risk of developing ulcers, you will need to take extra care of them. You may need treatment by a specialised professional such as a podiatrist or podiatry technician.
If you follow the advice given below, it will help you to take care of your feet between visits to your podiatrist and should reduce the chance of developing more problems in the future.
Check your feet every day
You should check your feet every day for any blisters, breaks in the skin, pain or signs of infection such as swelling, heat or redness.
Wash your feet every day
You should wash your feet every day in warm water and with a mild soap. Rinse them thoroughly and dry them carefully, especially between the toes. Do not soak your feet as this can damage your skin. Because of your diabetes, you may not be able to feel hot and cold very well. You should test the temperature of the water with your elbow, or ask someone else to test the temperature for you.
Moisturise your feet every day
If your skin is dry, apply a moisturising cream every day, avoiding the areas between your toes.
Cut or file your toenails regularly, following the curve of the end of your toe. Use a nail file to make sure that there are no sharp edges which could press into the next toe. Do not cut down the sides of your nails as you may create a ‘spike’ of nail which could result in an ingrown toenail.
Socks, stockings and tights
You should change your socks, stocking or tights every day. They should not have bulky seams and the tops should not be elasticated.
Avoid walking barefoot
If you walk barefoot you risk injuring your feet by stubbing your toes and standing on sharp objects which can damage the skin.
Check your shoes
Check the bottom of your shoes before putting them on to make sure that nothing sharp such as a pin, nail or glass has pierced the outer sole. Also, run your hand inside each shoe to check that no small objects such as small stones have fallen in.
Badly fitting shoes
Badly fitting shoes are a common cause of irritation or damage to feet. The person who screened your feet may give you advice about the shoes you are wearing and about buying new shoes.
Minor cuts and blisters
If you check your feet and discover any breaks in the skin, minor cuts or blisters, cover them with a sterile dressing. Do not burst blisters. Contact your podiatry department or GP immediately.
Over-the-counter corn remedies
Do not use over-the-counter corn remedies. They are not recommended for anyone with diabetes as they can cause damage to the skin, which can create problems.
Hard skin and corns
Do not attempt to remove hard skin or corns yourself. Your podiatrist will provide treatment and advice where necessary.
Avoid high or low temperatures
If your feet are cold, wear socks. Never sit with your feet in front of the fire to warm them up. Always remove hot water bottles or heating pads from your bed before getting in.
If you discover any problems with your feet, contact your local podiatry department or GP for advice immediately.