Diabetes & Foot Care

Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterised by hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose levels) caused by impairment in insulin secretion and/or action. Diabetes causes changes to the physiology of the foot that need to be monitored by people with Diabetes and their health care team.

Polyneuropathy is a complication of diabetes that results in nerve fibre damage, leading to diminished sensation in various parts of the body, including the feet. This means that a person with diabetes may not feel the pain associated with a foot injury, and may develop foot ulcerations and infections as a result of repeated injury.
Peripheral vascular disease and the associated atherosclerotic plaque formation in the arterial vessels of the leg can impair wound healing in the foot area. Diabetes can also lead to altered foot biomechanics and foot deformities that need to be carefully monitored.

TREATMENT OPTIONS
Diabetics should be educated about foot care by their diabetes management team (Doctor, Educator or Nurse, Podiatrist etc). This information should focus on:
• The importance of practising good foot hygiene habits.
• Checking the feet regularly (daily) for signs of foot injury (open lesions and cuts) and/or infection.
• Correct footwear selection, first aid for acute injuries and cutting toenails correctly. Always wear shoes, as this can minimise the risk of foot injury.
Diabetics should consult a Podiatrist or Doctor for the treatment of corns, callouses, wounds etc and for a regular review of their feet and foot care management plan.

ORGANISATIONS & SUPPORT GROUPS
Diabetes India Association (http://www.diabetesindia.com/)

PHARMACIST'S ADVICE
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist for advice.
1. Make sure that you keep check your feet daily.
2. Your Pharmacy stocks a full range of nail scissors. Ask for the best brand available.
3. Emery boards are available from your Pharmacy to file away any jagged or rough edges on the toenails.
4. If you need a small cosmetic mirror to check the feet, ask your Pharmacist to recommend one.
5. A good nourishing lotion is glycerine and sorbolene. It is suggested that a moisturiser containing 10% urea is preferred. Apply to the feet after bathing.
6. It is important to always have sterile dressings on hand in case of an injury to the feet. Ask your Pharmacist to recommend the most suitable types. When treating a minor injury wash and gently dry the injured foot and apply a non-stick dressing using tape. The dressing should be inspected and changed every day.