Foot ulcers become infected easily if your blood sugars are high. This can damage nerves, reduce blood supply, cause infections and even loss of your foot. 100 people a week with diabetes in the UK lose a leg, foot or toe with an amputation [NHS Diabetes]. Here are 5 ways to cut your foot risks.

1.  With diabetes - look after your own feet every day:

  • Check your own feet daily for problems or infections, because of loss of feeling in feet.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry. Hard or cracked skin can lead to infections. Wash daily and use an 'emollient' cream to soften, e.g. E45.
  • Foot care by a specialist NHS nurse (podiatrist) is free with diabetes - so go regularly!
  • Good footwear vital - shoes large enough not to pinch, not loose enough to rub or blister [19].
  • Avoid excessive heat or cold that your feet may not feel, such as a very hot bath. Avoid cold from wet feet or frost - use overshoes [19].

2.  If you have a foot problem, take action! 

Never neglect any pain, throbbing, swelling or odd colours in your foot. Do you know who to contact for early foot treatment? If not, ask your doctor. This could halve your risk of losing a foot [Y&H PHO, '06]. 

3. Ask your doctor whether you are at high risk of foot problems. 

High-risk people are 83 times more likely to develop a foot ulcer than low-risk people. The UK Tayside Foot-Risk tool is reliable [Leese et al, 2006;2007].

4. So, work on your foot care plan.      

If you are at risk, make sure your feet are checked every 3 months by a specialist (podiatrist). 

5. Look at the  NICE UK guide on preventing and managing foot problems [8]. 

page updated 18 April 2012.    © 2016 Social enterprise Diabetes-cutmyrisks.co.uk.™  Ltd.