Diabetic neuropathy is long-term damage to the nerve fibres. It happens when high blood sugar levels are present over several years, and in diabetes it usually begins with reduced sensation in the feet. The nerve damage affects each foot equally and eventually spreads up the legs.
Poor sensation in your feet makes them more prone to injury. Combined with poor circulation this can easily lead to ulcers and infections, and because this complication is caused by poor blood sugar control, people who don’t take enough care in controlling their diabetes stand a higher risk of developing nerve damage.
The golden rules for looking after your feet: the best way to reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy is to keep your blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible.
• Wear good fitting shoes, that are not tight or worn.
• Break in shoes gradually and make sure they do not rub.
• Keep your feet dry, especially between the toes.
• Use lotion to keep the skin soft so that you feet do not get dry or cracked.
• Cut your toenails straight across, not deep into the corners.
• Take care to avoid injury, because the poor sensation Diabetic
Neuropathy causes can mean minor injuries to your feet, and
sometimes major ones will go unnoticed.
• Wash your feet daily using luke warm water.
• Do not use heating pads, hot water bottles, iodine, epsom salts or alcohol.
• Check your feet every day and if there are any cuts, blisters, or
infections that are slow to heal then get these checked by your
diabetes nurse or GP.
• As well as your daily check, an annual foot inspection should be a routine part of your care by the Diabetes team.
For more information: http://cherquefarmfootclinic.webs.com/