This year’s World Diabetes Day is all about the important role family plays in caring for those living with diabetes. Knowing and caring for your feet is an important part of managing diabetes but can be easily overlooked until a foot ulcer presents. The good news is that with annual foot assessments and some simple self-care many people with diabetes will never get foot ulcers and their more serious complications, such as infections and amputations. And in even better news, your family can also play a role in helping take care of your feet.
Global Stats show...
1 in 11 people worldwide are currently living with diabetes
2 in 3 people wouldn't know how to care for a family member with diabetes
Globally, every 1.2 seconds someone develops a diabetes foot ulcer
One of the 300,000 Aussie families at risk of a foot ulcer or amputation?
The foot risk factors are poor foot feeling called “peripheral neuropathy” or poor foot circulation called “peripheral artery disease”.
One of the 1 million Aussie families not at risk of a foot ulcer or amputation?
At your last annual foot assessment you were advised you didn't have risk factors or a foot ulcer.
Does your Family have a risk of foot ulcers?
If a family member has foot risk factors of poor foot feeling called “peripheral neuropathy” or poor foot circulation called “peripheral artery disease”, there are simple ways to help them with their feet at home.
Stay up-to-date with your foot assessment appointments. It’s important that all people
with diabetes have at least a yearly foot assessment and understand what their foot risk status is for getting a foot ulcer. But for those with risk factors or foot ulcers, more regular care and foot checks are required so make sure you know and keep your foot plan handy.
Control your blood sugar levels as best you can. High blood sugar levels for long periods of time gives you a much higher chance of developing risk factors of poor feeling (peripheral neuropathy) or poor circulation (peripheral artery disease). So controlling your sugars is not only good for the sake of your health but also good for the sake of your feet.
Help with your daily foot check. If you find out you have risk factors then you should check for ulcers, sores, cuts, redness, new calluses, new bruises and any other signs of damage to your feet every day. Check underneath and on top of your feet and don’t forget between your toes. Ask a family member for help if you have trouble reaching or seeing your feet.
Know the warning signs for your feet and act. For people with risk factors or ulcers, this is critical and time plays an important role in preventing things getting much worse. So if you notice a new ulcer, sore, cut, redness, pain or swelling make an appointment with your doctor today!
Make sure you wear shoes that protect your feet and not damage your feet. When shoes don’t fit well or are too tight, callus and blisters may result which can become ulcers in people with risk factors. Socks should also be worn within footwear to reduce rubbing.
Avoid hot and cold temperatures. For people with risk factors for foot ulcers, the nerves in their feet may not be too good at telling if things are hot, cold or painful, so it’s very important to protect your feet if you have risk factors. Avoid exposure to hot pavements, sunburn, heaters, and hot water. Avoid exposure to the cold and very cold water.
Did you know...
A small injury in those with risk factors can become a foot ulcer
Men are 3 times more likely than women to suffer from a foot ulcer
Foot ulcers are the leading cause of amputation in Australia