Put Your Feet First:
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Foot Check:

Your feet take a real pounding on a daily basis, whilst getting you from A to B and keeping you upright throughout the day and if your feet develop problems your mobility will be affected; therefore, all Diabetics should have a their Feet Checked on a regular Basis; if no problems have been found, as yet, then an annual Foot Check should suffice; if you are a Diabetic and you haven't had a foot check in the last year, then contact your doctor and request one.

What A Foot Check Involves:

Footwear: Your footwear will be checked for damage and areas that may be rubbing your feet.

Infection: Redness, Hot Skin, Swelling of your legs or feet, or signs of Pus, will show that an area is infected.

Pain: Soreness can indicate Neuropathy, or problems with your blood supply.

Pulses: The blood supply to your feet will be checked by feeling the Pulses on the top of your foot and at the back of your heel.

Sensation: The bottom of your feet will be tested for feeling, by a gentle pressure with a finger whilst your eyes are closed, or by using a Tuning Fork, or a tube called a Monofilament.

Shape Changes: Changes in the shape of your feet will be looked for, such as Claw Toes or Bunions, as these can cause increased pressure and lead to Ulceration.

A claw toe is contracted at the middle and end joints, which leads to severe pressure and pain; Ligaments and Tendons that have tightened cause the toe's joints to curl downwards; it can occur in any toe, except the big toe and can cause pain at the top part of your toe as it rubs against your shoe and at the end of the toe that is pressed against the bottom of the shoe.

There are two types of claw toes, flexible and rigid; in a flexible claw toe, the joint has the ability to move and can be straightened manually; a rigid claw however, has limited movement and can be extremely painful; this sometimes causes restricted foot movement leading to extra stress at the ball of the foot and possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses

Examiner Report:

Once you have had your feet checked, you should be told what your risk of developing foot problems are; this currently falls into three categories:

Low Risk: This means that you currently have no problems with your nerves and the blood supply to your legs and feet; this does not mean that your feet are in perfect condition, but you should be given general advice to cover any minor problems you may have and general advice on keeping your feet in good condition; your next Foot Check should be within a year's time.

Increased Risk: This means that at least one of your feet does not have the full sensation, or pulses, or that one or more deformites or infections have been discovered; if this is the case then you should be referred to a foot specialist for treatment; depending on the condition of your feet, your next Foot Check should be within 3 to 6 month's time.

High Risk: This means that you have had an Ulcer or Amputation in the past, and that you do not have the full sensation, or pulses, or that one or more deformites or infections have been discovered and are in need of urgent treatment; if this is the case then you should be referred to a foot specialist for urgent treatment; depending on the condition of your feet, your next Foot Check should be within 1 to 3 month's time.

Good Practice:

The best way to avoid foot problems is to maintain good blood glucose levels, but you should also check your feet on a daily basis; look for any changes in shape or colour and check for any cuts or scratches; if you do find anything seek medical advice from your doctor, foot specialist or Diabetic specialist, do not ignore it, hoping that it will go away, "it never does!"; remember "a stitch in time saves nine!"

Check for any loss of sensation in your feet; if you become aware of any loss of sensation then do not walk around barefoot and avoid using very cold or hot water on your feet, but most of all seek medical advice from your doctor, foot specialist or Diabetic specialist, do not ignore it, hoping that it will go away; as I have already stated "it never does!"

Foot Care:

Clean your feet daily, using warm, not hot water, and a mild soap; avoid soaking your feet and dry them with a soft towel; ensure that you dry carefully between your toes; inspect your feet and toes every day for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, calluses, or any other problems; to get a good look at your feet use a mirror or get help from someone else; notify your health care provider of any problems.

Moisturise your feet with an emollient 'softening' cream on them, but do not apply it between the toes as this will make them too moist an possibly lead to other skin conditions; after a bath or shower, file corns and calluses gently with a pumice stone; ensure that you cut your toenails to the shape of your toes and file the edges with an emery board; if you suffer from corns, avoid using corn removing plasters or blades of any kind, to remove them, as these can damage your skin; always wear shoes or slippers to protect your feet from injuries and prevent skin irritation by wearing thick, soft, seamless socks.

Wear shoes that fit well and allow your toes to move; break in new shoes gradually by first wearing them for only an hour at a time; before putting your shoes on, look them over carefully and feel the insides with your hand to make sure they have no tears, sharp edges, or objects in them that might injure your feet; if you do find any new problems with your feet then seek medical advice from your doctor, foot specialist or Diabetic specialist and as I have already stated twice "do not ignore it, hoping that it will go away, it never does!"

The Human Foot:

A human foot and ankle contain 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, Ligaments and Tendons; there are over 206 bones in an adult Human Skeleton; therefore, the 52 bones in your feet and ankles make up a quarter of all the bones in your body; there are around 250 000 sweat glands in your feet and they excrete up to half a pint of moisture a day; in fact your soles contain more sweat glands and sensory nerve endings per square centimetre than any other part of the body.


Bones and muscular and ligamentous attachments of the right foot.

Diabetes Related Information Leaflets



 

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