Your simple daily foot check - for everyone with diabetes
During the lockdown I have been tweeting endlessly about checking your feet more, "check your feet daily", start your daily foot check now", “check your feet for changes"......
My last two blogs describe in detail why, if you have diabetes, you must
take extra care of your feet and why there is an increased amputation rate. If you have not already read them then I would advise you to, so that you are aware why I keep banging on about daily foot checks. The links are at the bottom of this blog.
I will outline the 3 simple steps of a daily foot check further down this blog, so that you can start checking your feet daily and establish a habit, a bit like cleaning your teeth.
Up until lockdown, many of you will have had regular podiatrist appointments to have your feet checked, giving you peace of mind. Many of you will also have had a friend of family member regularly pop in for a cuppa who will check your feet while they are there! Since lock down this will not have been happening and we are not certain when social distancing rules will relax enough for those practices to restart.
When you emerge from this period of isolation the last thing you want to find is that you have developed a problem on your feet which you have been completely unaware of and that could take months to heal - if at all. The preferred option would be to come out with relatively healthy feet which you have become very familiar with that allow you to get on with your life.
The best chance you have of avoiding problems is to start checking them yourself - now.
I totally understand why many of you have had others checking your feet -looking at the sole of your foot isn't the easiest thing to do especially if you have mobility or flexibility issues. Trying to balance on one leg while checking the other one looking at a mirror leaning against a wall is not only dangerous but not really plausible - joking apart that is why we developed Solesee!
Solesee has a light shatterproof mirror, set at the perfect angle to see the whole of the sole of your foot and heel from a seated position. It has been designed to make your daily foot check so much easier. As one of our customers has said ‘it makes a difficult foot inspection much easier. It makes it more likely that you will carry out a daily inspection.’
When not being used, Solesee folds into an easy to carry iPad sized folder.
See the pictures below :
The simple 3 step foot check
STEP 1 – Check both of your feet, top and bottom every day. To do this either sit on a chair or the side of the bed and lift up each foot one at a time. If you struggle to do this easily then use a Solesee Foot Inspection Mirror.
Take a few minutes to check the soles and heels of each foot, paying particular attention to the back of the heel and between the toes.
- Blisters, cuts or cracks/breaks in the skin
- Hard skin and callus build up. Identify where these are on your feet so that you can keep a close eye on those areas. Sometimes infections can develop behind a callus or area of hard dry skin. These tends to occur on the balls of the foot or the heels, as well as where bones stick out so potentially bunion joints or hammer toes.
- Colour, temperature or shape change of the foot. This could indicate an infection is already present.
STEP 2 – wash your feet in warm soapy water and then pat dry rather than rubbing. Dry carefully between the toes.
STEP 3 – Apply a moisturiser specifically developed for use for diabetic foot conditions and never apply between the toes. Moisturising the feet will keep the skin moist and supple reducing the chances of infection. Cracks and breaks in the skin are much more susceptible to infection.
If you notice a change, then please get in touch with your Podiatrist or Diabetes Nurse or GP surgery straight away.
Please don't be afraid to contact your health professional if you have a problem. They really do want to hear from you. It is better to give you advice now on how to deal with the problem to try and stop it from getting any worse, than waiting until this is all over as it could be too late then.
Remember with diabetes, any damage to your foot can quickly escalate from a cut to an ulcer and then to an infected ulcer, if not dealt with quickly. This is because if there is blood vessel damage, there is reduced blood flow to your foot meaning wounds take longer to heal, if at all.
CHECKING YOUR FEET DAILY WILL HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF PROBLEMS OCCURRING.