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Diabetic? Take care of your feet 

It’s especially important to look after your feet if you have diabetes. Here’s how to take care of your feet and advice on when to get professional help.

Diabetes can limit the blood supply to your feet and cause a loss of feeling. This can mean foot injuries do not heal well and the lack of feeling means you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured. If you have diabetes, you’re 15 times more likely to have a limb amputated due to gangrene.

“The risk of complications can be greatly redu-ced if you’re able to bring your blood sugar levels under control,” says foot specialist Mike O’Neill.

“Ensure that your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are also monitored and controlled with medication if needed. Smoking is also not a good idea as it has a harmful effect on the blood supply to your feet.”

Foot care tips if you have diabetes

See a private or NHS podiatrist at least once a year. Ask your GP for a referral or find a local podiatrist. Keep your feet clean and free from infection.

Wear shoes that fit well and don’t squeeze or rub.

Never walk barefoot, especially in the garden or on the beach on holidays.

Cut or file your toenails regularly.

Get corns or hard skin treated by a podiatrist.

Seek treatment from your GP or podiatrist if foot blisters or injuries do not heal quickly.

Treat ulcers urgently, within 24 hours, especially if there is redness or swelling around the area, or in an area where you’ve previously been warned to seek immediate attention.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if:

You see breaks in the skin of your foot or discharge.

The skin over part or all of the foot changes colour and becomes more red, blue, pale or dark.

You notice extra swelling in your feet where there was a blister or injury.