Feet First with Diabetes
Part of my Podiatry degree training was to look into the damaging effects diabetes has on the body and I was surprised to find that it is the feet where problems show up first. It is my firm belief that if I can prevent one person from having a serious foot or leg problem then I have done a good job.
Diabetes is caused when there is a problem in the production of insulin or a reduction of the availability of insulin to work in the body. This hormone is necessary for the production of energy and is associated with sugar 'glucose’ and its storage / fat breakdown to give us energy.
If you or someone you know feels constant thirst, is losing weight and passing a lot of urine, they could have diabetes. It may be advisable to get them to see their GP; a blood test for sugar levels is quite easy to obtain.
So how does Diabetes affect your feet?
Over a long period of time high blood sugar ‘glucose’ levels can cause damage to nerves, namely the sensory, motor and autonomic nerves. This is known as neuropathy.
Damage to sensory nerves means losing sensation in your feet such as pain, temperature and vibrations. This can result in injury without knowledge.
Damage to motor nerves can affect the change of shape in your feet and damage to the autonomic nerves means that there is a reduction in the sweat produced by your feet, which will make your skin very dry.
High blood glucose levels can also cause damage to blood vessels. This can affect the blood supply to your feet and legs and may mean less blood gets to your skin, muscles and tissues (circulation).
Diabetes can go on to cause poor wound healing and for any cuts, normal healing does not happen. Podiatrists help heal cuts (which could turn into ulcers) by applying dressings and removing unwanted material that the body produces which delays healing.
Many people with diabetes believe that the problems are caused by poor blood supply and think that if feet are red and hot they are healthy. Actually, this could be a foot that needs further investigation.
Because nerve damage is difficult to see and feel, you may not know that you are at risk of foot problems so even if your feet look healthy make sure your nerves are tested at your annual diabetes review.
If you see or feel any changes it’s really important to get advice. Make an appointment to see a Podiatrist, nurse or doctor. Don’t put it off, the sooner you get help the fewer problems you are likely to have.
I can assess wounds and liaise closely with other agencies to promote health and vitality. I use standardised tests to monitor nerve damage. Knowing when to intervene can reduce further skin breakdown, soft tissue and even bone destruction.
During October I am offering the opportunity to have an assessment or management session at a 25% discount. To book an appointment: Contact
I am also passionate about how joints function and how to relieve joint pain. I have a special interest in Hypermobility.
For more information on diabetes please see: www.feetforlife.Org
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