With someone being diagnosed with diabetes every two minutes1 Flexitol is raising awareness this National Diabetes Week, on the importance of equipping patients with the knowledge and products to be able to maintain their foot health.

Diabetic patients’ feet present a unique challenge; they are susceptible to complications, yet footcare is often forgotten about. As a healthcare professional, it is pivotal to educate and encourage patients with diabetes to adhere to the correct footcare routine all year round.

Fewer than 2 in 10 patients with diabetes check their feet daily2, however with summer approaching, people tend to take better care of their feet, due to them being on show frequently. The summer months can prove to be the ideal time for patients to establish a correct footcare routine that they can engrain into their behaviour.

All people with diabetes should have an annual foot screening with a trained professional at least once a year, if not more regularly based on their risk of developing diabetes-related foot complications. It is important for both Health Care Professionals and patients to know their risk status. The Flexitol diabetes foot screening toolkit is a valuable resource to help deliver a high-quality foot screening for patients with diabetes.

 

Tips for your patients

 

Daily Inspection

Check your feet daily and look out for open wounds, redness or swollen areas. If you do notice any of these, or any changes in the condition of your feet, contact a health care professional as soon as possible

Remember you may not feel any pain at all, and so a daily visual check is important. If you cannot reach your feet, use a mirror or ask a friend/relative or carer.

 

Skin care

Always moisturise your feet daily with a urea-based emollient, especially the heel area, where dry, cracked skin can develop, especially if wearing sandals in summer.

AVOID applying emollients between the toes, this area of your feet needs to be as dry as possible.

AVOID using any medicated corn plasters on your feet. If you have a corn, then seek treatment and advice from your podiatrist.

 

Toenails

Always cut your toenails straight across, if you struggle with cutting toenails, then filing is safer to do.

If you do paint your toenails with nail varnish, always remove afterwards and do not leave toenails painted all year round.

 

Never go barefoot

Always remember to check inside your footwear before you put them on for foreign objects such as glass, nails, grit. People with diabetes in particular who may have lost sensation in their feet might not feel a foreign object has found it’s way into the sock or shoe.

Never go on hot sand and swimming pool sides barefoot, especially if you have reduced, or no sensation in your feet.

 

Footwear

During summer do not wear unsupportive strappy sandals or flip flops. These could rub your feet causing blisters and callus. Calluses are hard or thick areas of the skin that can be painful³.

Wear something on your feet at all times, even in the home to protect your feet

Wearing wool or cotton socks at all times is important because socks keep your shoes from rubbing against your feet and causing blisters.

  1. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-week
  2. Results from an attitudinal survey of 1,000 people with diabetes, data on file, 2018.
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/corns-and-calluses/