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Foot care advice

This leaflet explains the importance of foot care for people with diabetes. It provides a comprehensive list of do's and dont's. It also provides practical advice to consider when buying new shoes.

Contents

 

Introduction

Diabetes is a lifelong condition which can cause foot problems. Some of these problems can occur because the nerves and blood vessels supplying your feet are damaged. This can affect:

  • the feeling in your feet (called ‘peripheral neuropathy’)
  • the circulation in your feet (called ‘peripheral vascular disease’ or ‘ischaemia’).

These changes can be very gradual and you may not notice them. This is why it is essential that you have your feet screened every year. The screening will show whether you are at low risk, medium risk or high risk of developing an ulcer in your foot. You should then follow the advice given below for your level of risk.

Low Risk

If your foot screening has shown that you do not have nerve or blood vessel damage then you are currently at low risk of developing foot ulcers because of your diabetes.

More information on how to look after your feet if they are low risk, here.

Moderate Risk

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.

More information on how to look after your feet if they are moderate risk here.

High Risk

You will be assessed as being at high 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 feet has changed.
  • Your vision is impaired.
  • You cannot look after your feet yourself.
  • You have had ulcers before.
  • You have had an amputation.

More information on how to look after your feet if they are high risk here.

Useful resources

The College of Podiatry has launched a new app for people living with diabetes to promote awareness of what to expect at their annual foot screening. The app follows NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network) guidelines.

Search for the app in your app store by using the term ‘diabetic foot screening’.

Badly fitting shoes can cause various foot problems. For information on selecting suitable footwear if you have diabetes, see Footwear advice. 

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