Our podiatry team has recorded this video for you if you have found out that your feet are of high risk of diabetes foot problems. We’ll take you through your results and what they mean for you. Also, we’ll talk about how to keep looking after your feet so they’ll look after you.
If videos aren’t your thing we’ve summarised the information below.
Related diabetes videos and information:
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High Diabetes Foot Risk Means
If you have a high risk of diabetes foot problems it means that one or all of the following areas has been compromised.
Circulation is how well the blood flows down from your heart to the tips of your toes and then back.
If your blood flow is reduced then your healing and health of your feet will be compromised.
When you’re high risk your circulation could be reduced to alarming levels.
If you do not have enough blood flow your podiatrist & your health care team will look to facilitate a referral to a vascular surgeon.
Sensation is the ability of your nerves to feel and tell you what is happening.
If we can’t feel our feet, we can’t feel when things are sore.
Pain is an important signal. Knowing that you’ve stepped on something or your shoes are rubbing is crucial for you to act and do something about it.
When you’re high risk your sensation could be impaired. Our feet can hide the truth from us and not let us know when things are going wrong.
The main lesions we focus on for diabetes foot risk level are pressure lesions.
Corns and callus are lesions which develop in response to consistent pressure and friction on the skin.
A small amount of callus is protective. If it builds it can lead to more significant problems as callus comes before most diabetic foot ulcers.
When you’re high risk your foot lesions can be more pronounced and in need of close attention and prevention strategies
How To Manage Your Diabetes Foot Risk
There are also three areas for you to participate in to ensure your feet stay complication free. They involve what you can do at home, what you do with your podiatrist, and what you do with your extended health care team.
Check your feet every day. Look for changes in skin colour, breaks in the skin, inflammation or just anything different from normal. Utilise those around you to check under your feet if you struggle to see.
Foot hygiene is more important when we have high risk feet. Ensuring you wash with a soap free wash and dry thoroughly after bathing is crucial. Applying a moisturiser rich in natural acids (rather than plain sorbolene) will also help your skin stay soft, supple and strong.
For toenail care it’s best to hand responsibility over to your podiatrist. Safe, careful and precise care with sterile instruments and a steady hand is required to look after our nails and skin. At home a gentle file or emery board can be used in between podiatrist visits.
Shoes or footwear are more and more important as our risk level escalates. Make sure you have the right shoes for the right activities and your feet. Appropriate fit and fixation (they should have laces, straps or velcro) to hold onto your feet. If you opt for slip on shoes there is a greater chance of over-working your toes as they have to grip tight to hold onto your shoes. The other risk with slip on shoes is that to get them to stay on they fit too tight.
If you have lesions like corns or callus under foot then your podiatrist will recommend orthotics (innersoles) to prevent the lesions from coming back or getting worse.
Physical activity is also vital to look after your high risk feet at home. Your feet need 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity every day and 2 sessions of resistance training per week. Cardiovascular exercise is something that increases your heart rate and involves some movement. Think walking, jogging, dance, swimming and cycling. Resistance training involves lifting weights.
Probably the most misunderstood and poorly utilised aspect of diabetes management is weight training. For foot health as well as a host of other benefits you must work out with weights at least twice per week. If you’re not doing this, the transformation you’ll feel when you start will be nothing short of incredible.
If you’re at high risk of diabetes foot problems and this sounds difficult there’s some good news there. Difficult means there’s plenty of improvement to come. When high risk it’s best to see an exercise expert (an exercise physiologist) to establish what is safe and necessary exercise for you.
At The Podiatrist Management
You and your podiatrist will see each other regularly for your nail and skin care needs and also around 3 months to test and retest your overall diabetes foot risk. Your circulation, sensation and lesion check up.
Your Health Care Team Management
To stay on top of your health and feel positive, energetic and well you’ll likely have the following health professionals in your team.
Your GP is your trusted regular contact for all your needs. Your doctor will coordinate your testing, referrals and play an integral role in your health and wellbeing.
As we’ve touched on above, your podiatrist will be crucial in helping you get the most out of your life on your feet.
Eye tests are also reccomended annually for those with diabetes.
When you are at high risk you will most likely have further medical management via an endocrinologist or dietary planning with a dietitian.
Most people with diabetes will benefit from regular exercise physiology as well. EPs are exercise experts who can motivate, support and train you to ensure you’re feeling your best. An example of how this helps is with the Sugar Burners🔥 Diabetes Program.