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Prevent the diabetic foot!

Diabetic foot is the foot which demonstrates one or more features caused by diabetes mellitus and its complications. These are:

  1. Foot ulcer
  2. Foot infection
  3. Neuropathic osteoarthropathy (Charcot)

When at least two of these features co-exist, we call the condition diabetic foot syndrome.

The main culprit for the above-mentioned features is a disorder called diabetic polyneuropathy of the feet which includes damage to both sensory and motor nerves occuring in poorly-controlled diabetes mellitus. The consequences of this condition are reduced sensation of the skin, redistribution of pressure areas and foot deformity, dryness and cracking of the skin, finally resulting in many foot injuries passing unnoticed.

If a diabetic person has also got advanced peripheral occlusive arterial disease, the blood flow to the foot may be too little (“ischaemia”) for even minor injuries to heal, and sores may progress into dead tissue (“gangrene”) in the skin and deeper tissues.

To prevent diabetic neuropathy:

  • Monitor your blood sugar regularly and keep it under tight control
  • Exercise regularly, have a healthy diet and quit smoking (if you smoke)

To prevent complications of diabetic neuropathy:

  • Check your feet every day
  • Apply a fine layer of a moisturizing cream if the skin of your feet is dry
  • Cut your nails very carefully – If you have difficulties, see a Podiatrist
  • Wear shoes that fit properly, and wear them at all times to prevent foot injuries

 Last modified 02/02/2015