diabetes footcare, diabetic foot conditions

32

LIVING

Use a separate clean towel for

your feet.

Take your shoes off at home and

wear clean cotton socks every day.

nhs.uk/athletes-foot

Blisters

Blisters are small pockets of fluid

under the skin, which can appear

anywhere on our bodies - usually as

a result of friction. That's why feet

are a prime location, standing for

long periods or long walks can add

to the problem, alongside shoes or

socks that don't quite fit.

Symptoms can include:

A clear fluid bump under a layer

of skin.

Red or black bumps, which are

filled with blood.

Hot bumps filled with green or

yellow pus, which means the

blister is infected. Never ignore an

infected blister. Without treatment

it could lead to a skin or blood

infection, and with diabetes, this

could result in amputation.

Treatment

Your GP or foot team will help you

to protect your blister to stop it

becoming infected - a hydrocolloid

(moist) dressing can be used to help

to reduce pain and speed up the

healing time. While looking after your

blister, do not:

Burst it yourself.

Peel the skin off a burst blister.

Pick at the edges of the

surrounding skin.

Wear shoes that rub on the area.

nhs.uk/blisters

Gout

Gout, a form of arthritis, causes

sudden, severe joint pain. It usually

affects the big toe but can also attack

other areas. Gout can last between

five and seven days.

Symptoms can include:

Pain in the joint.

Hot, swollen, red skin over

the joint.

See your GP or diabetes team as

soon as possible if the pain becomes

worse, you have a temperature or feel

sick. This could signal an infection.

Treatment

Gout is generally treated with a

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like

ibuprofen and, later, steroid tablets

or injections if symptoms don't

improve. To avoid further attacks,

your GP may also recommend

lifestyle changes, such as losing

weight if you need to, eating a

healthy diet, drinking less alcohol -

including some drink-free days each

week, regular exercise and, if you

smoke, taking steps to quit. You can

also test for urea in your system (kit

are available for testing at home).

nhs.uk/gout

Plantar fasciitis

This is a condition that causes pain

on the bottom of your foot, around

your heel and arch.

Symptoms can include:

Pain, which is worse when you

start walking after resting.

Pain, which improves during

exercise but comes back

after resting.

You find it hard to raise your toes

off the floor.

Treatment

You can help to ease the pain at

home with the following steps:

Rest and raise your foot when

you can.

Wrap an ice pack in a towel and

hold on the area for around

20 minutes up to three times a day.

Wear wide, comfortable shoes with

a low heel and use soft insoles or

heel pads.

Regular gentle stretching exercises

- pressing a soft ball and rolling it

under the foot can help.

See your GP if the pain does not

improve within two weeks, who may

refer you to a physiotherapist for

exercises or to a podiatrist.

nhs.uk/plantar-fasciitis

Diabetes

specific

Charcot foot

Charcot foot is a serious foot

complication related to diabetes as a

result of peripheral neuropathy. High

blood glucose, high blood fats and

high blood pressure can damage the

small blood vessels supplying your

nerves, and over time, you may begin

to lose the sense of feeling in your

legs, hands or feet.

This means that any damage to

your foot - an injury or broken bone

- can go unnoticed and therefore

untreated. Because you can't feel

anything, you'll be able to walk on

your affected foot without realising

there's a problem, and the bone and

joints can then change shape and put

other joints at risk.

Foot ulcers are more likely with a

misshapen foot, which again can lead

to more severe consequences. But

you can receive treatment to avoid

worst-case scenarios.

Symptoms of Charcot foot may

include:

Swelling.

Warmth - the affected foot feels

warmer than the other.

Change in colour and shape.

If you develop any of these

symptoms, take the weight off

your foot straight away, and talk to

your GP or diabetes team as soon

as possible.

Treatment

There are two treatment types.

Non-surgical treatment: This

involves keeping the foot as still as

possible and not putting any weight

on it. Your foot will be put in a plaster

cast or a protective boot, and you

may also be given a wheelchair or

crutches. This process can take a

few months or longer, depending on

your diagnosis. Once your treatment

finishes, you may need protective

custom shoes.

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