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Would you recognise your feet in a lineup?

Would you recognise your feet in a lineup?

Men...we're looking at you

Studies have shown men have a certain reluctance in tackling health concerns, and much prefer to fix those pesky foot problems with the good ol’ band-aid approach. If you think about all the men in your family and life, you probably have a few loved ones who fit this ''she'll be right" profile. Now you're probably thinking, they're just feet right? Surely they can take care of themselves? But for the 1 million plus Australians currently living with diabetes, over 300,000 of those either have diabetic foot disease risk factors (poor feeling or poor circulation in their feet) or actual diabetic foot disease (sores, infection or really poor circulation in their feet). 

Here's the thing

Men are three times more likely to suffer from diabetic foot disease than women. And today, on World Diabetes Day, 12 Australians will undergo a diabetes-related amputation. Twelve might seem like a low number. But when you add that to the 12,500 Australians living with an amputation, and their families also living with a diabetes-related amputation, the impact of diabetic foot disease is growing at an alarming rate. It certainly makes you think about the large proportion of men adopting the 'ignore it and it will go away' approach, and how many diabetic foot related problems and complications could be prevented or avoided if feet were given the much needed attention they deserve. So the big question for all the Aussie blokes out there living with diabetes is...how well do you know your feet? 

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Australians are in hospital right now because of diabetic foot disease
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Australians are living with diabetic foot disease today

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of diabetes-related amputations are preventable with best practice treatment

Ready for the good news?

Getting your feet checked every year by your doctor or podiatrist will identify if you have any risk factors (poor feeling or poor circulation) for developing diabetic foot disease or not!

If you are one of the 1 million plus Australians with diabetes, make sure you book in for an annual foot assessment with your doctor or podiatrist. This will identify if you are one of the 300,000 Australians with these risk factors that need to have more regular care for their feet. OR if you don’t have these risk factors you simply need to make sure you get your feet checked again next year. It’s easy, quick and painless and your feet will thank you for it in the long run!

Let's be honest, touching your toes was a lot easier in primary school. And as we age, reaching all the way down to your feet can seem as difficult as learning a second language. So you can help your family member with diabetes at home as well. A daily foot check can be done on the couch, even with sport playing on the TV.  So before giving your nearest and dearest that subtle head tilt to ‘please remove your feet from the coffee table’, take a moment to check their foot health first. Print out our handy 'Daily Foot Care Checklist' and stick it on the fridge for an easy reminder.

Helping a stubborn

family member

is easier than you think!

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Know the risk factors

Everyone's feet are different, and as much as Dr Google is helpful, the only way for people with diabetes to know how healthy their feet are, is to book in for a yearly check-up with their doctor or podiatrist. It's as simple as taking your shoes and socks off, something we all do every day. 

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Be aware of changes

Is your loved one complaining of hot or cold feet? Have they lost sensation? Are they going through band-aids on a stubborn sore that won't heal? For people with diabetes, the risk factors of diabetic foot disease can creep up on them, so make a doctor or podiatrist appointment for them as soon as you notice any foot changes. 

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Get the right treatment

Corns and Calluses are signs that feet are getting too much pressure. In people with limited feeling, they are also a warning sign of ulcers forming. Avoid over-the-counter corn or callus removal methods as these can cause wounds, and instead check with your doctor or podiatrist for treatment options.

Caring is Sharing

Caring for the general health and wellbeing of your family plays an important role in managing diabetes and diabetic foot disease. And there's a valid argument that it can't be considered nagging if you help avoid a nasty foot complication developing. 

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Summer has hit

You know that feeling when you run across the hot pavement or sand at the beach? For people living with diabetic foot disease, nerve damage can mean they can't feel temperature or pain. So always wear shoes, and don't forgot to slap on sunscreen to help protect your valuable feet from burns. 

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Enjoying the Cricket?

TV ad breaks aren't just for advertising, they're also the perfect opportunity to move. Exercise, especially walking, not only benefits your diabetes but can help with maintaining that all important blood flow to your feet. So really, telling someone on the couch to 'get their own drink' is actually a positive thing. 

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Short on gift ideas?

Looking for useful Christmas stocking fillers? Buy some moisturiser and a selfie stick. A selfie stick is a great way to help see under those feet for problems, just take a pic and check.  But if you prefer the ol' favourite of socks - go for a seamless pair as they reduce the amount of rubbing.  

Are you putting your healthiest foot forward?

Managing diabetes takes a lot of work, and at the end of a long day the last thing you want to do is think about your feet. But by adding a few simple daily steps to your routine and chatting with your health professional regularly, you can put your healthiest foot forward. Tap or click on the following boxes to check your foot care knowledge.

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Who is at-risk of developing diabetic foot problems?

a) People with type 1 diabetes 

b) People with type 2 diabetes

c) People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes

C

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause damage to blood vessels and peripheral nerves that can result in problems in the legs and feet. The most common of these problems is the Diabetic Foot Ulcer (wound occurring on the foot), commonly caused by a lack of sensation and/or poor blood supply in a person with diabetes.

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How often should my Doctor check my feet?

a) Only if I have an injury 

b) At least once a year

c) Every 2 years 

d) Feet don't need checking 

B

Ensure your GP, Podiatrist or other diabetes-advisor professional inspects your feet at least once every 12 months, or more regularly if you have a current (or history of) foot problems.

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Can a small cut progress into a bigger problem?

a) Yes

b) No

 

a

Often people with diabetic foot disease will have an injury, such as a blister or a cut, and because they have no feeling in that region, they don't realise it's there. If you aren't checking your feet, you're less likely to notice and treat an injury, allowing it to progress to a more serious, advanced stage.

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Should my Doctor look at my feet in a diabetes check-up?

a) Yes

b) No

c) Only if I have a foot ulcer

A

Yes! It's important to always take your shoes and socks off during your annual diabetes check-up. And it's not just about your feet, your shoes should also be inspected for signs of wear & tear.  

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How often should I wear shoes?

a) Outside only 

b) Outside and inside when using power tools 

c) At all times - inside and outside

C

Wear well-fitting footwear, both indoors and outdoors. This is important as you can easily injure yourself without realising (due to loss of sensation in the feet) by stepping on something hard or sharp.

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When should I see a health professional if I notice a change in my foot?

a) Straight away 

b) Only if it gets worse 

c) If it doesn't heal within a week

A

Report any signs and symptoms to your Health Care Professional as soon as possible for examination. By following your daily foot care checklist, any changes can be reported early.

Foot care isn't about wearing nail polish

And for World Diabetes Day, it's time to update the perception of foot care and take a family approach to help prevent diabetic foot disease. 

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