If you’re looking after a person with diabetes, whether you’re a family member or a health professional or assistant, you play an important role in helping that person maintain their foot and leg health by ensuring they receive regular podiatry care.
27,600 Australians are admitted to hospital every year due to diabetic foot disease, the biggest complication of which is diabetes-related foot ulcers. Of these, 4,400 end up with an amputation to the lower limb each year, with a further 1,700 deaths annually due to diabetic foot disease.
To help prevent these statistics from becoming a reality for your loved ones or those in your care, our Podiatrists here at My FootDr have shared five healthy foot tips for carers to remember:
- Daily monitoring – set a habit of visually examining the feet daily for any marks, spots, cuts, swelling or redness. The skin of the feet mirrors what is happening underneath it. Check the tops, bottoms and sides of the feet, as well as between the toes.
- Hygiene is key – wash and dry feet daily to avoid infections which can lead to bigger problems. This will also help you monitor any changes to the integrity of the skin, or any cuts and wounds that may have arisen unexpectedly.
- Footwear – ensure the shoes worn are correctly fitted to provide good support and reduce points of possible irritation and damage.
- Socks – wear cotton socks with no elastic in the tops to both absorb sweat, assist circulation and reduce pressure on the feet.
- Annual podiatry visit – people with diabetes must visit a podiatrist at least every 12 months (as recommended by Diabetes Australia), or more frequently for those with peripheral neuropathy, foot deformities or reduced circulation.
Around 75% of diabetes-related foot ulcers and therefore amputations are preventable if problems are detected early and a care plan and foot protection program is established. This is why special care and attention to the feet is a must.
Do you know someone with diabetes or who cares for someone living with diabetes? Make feet the topic of conversation this week and help us stomp out Australia’s foot problem.
For more information on how we can help with diabetes foot health, book an appointment with your local My FootDr podiatrist today by calling 1800 FOOTDR or book an appointment online.