Do you have diabetes, Type 1 (insulin dependant) or Type 2 (diet or tablet controlled)?
Do you worry about your feet and how to look after them properly, or are you waiting long periods of time between NHS podiatry appointments? Don't worry, we can help you!
If you, or a family member, have diabetes it is always a great idea to have your feet checked on a regular basis to ensure that they remain healthy and problem free. The podiatrist will assess the blood flow to your feet, test nerves to diagnose any sensory impairment and offer treatment and advice for common foot problems.
If you are diabetic, here's some good advice to keep your feet healthy:
Check your feet daily
A quick but thorough foot check takes a few minutes and will help you identify any breaks in the skin which may lead to infection, blisters, colour changes or rub marks from footwear.
Wash your feet each day
You need to keep your feet clean whether you are diabetic or not! You can do this whilst bathing or showering and you can incorporate your foot check into this routine at the same time. Dry well between your toes and avoid using talcum powder as this can sit in the spaces between the toes and absorb water, turning it to a sticky paste. Yuck!
Moisturise your feet
This isn't just for the ladies! Dry skin is like a dried out leaf, it cracks easily and where there's a crack germs and bacteria can get in, leading to infection. Do choose a moisturiser such as CCS Footcare Cream which not only moisturises, but also contains an ingredient called urea. Urea softens the skin too, helping problems like cracked heels. This is the moisturiser of choice at Melton Podiatry; we've tried and tested it and think it does a great job!
Toenails just keep growing! If you have no problems with reduced blood flow to your feet (Peripheral Vascular Disease) and have no neuropathy (loss of feeling, numbness or pins and needles) there should be no reason that you can't continue to cut your toenails at home (if you can reach and see!). It's worth speaking to the podiatrist first to see if you should do this. If there's no reason that you shouldn't cut them, always make sure that you cut them following the shape of the end of your toe and use a metal file or emery board to file away any sharp corners to prevent injury to the toe next door. Don't cut down the sides of your nails as you may create an ingrowing toenail in the process.
Shoes and footwear
Make sure your shoes and slippers fit well as ill-fitting footwear can cause an array of problems from painful feet and blisters, to corns and skin being rubbed raw. Make sure to check inside your footwear before putting them on, if you have neuropathy you may not notice the pain of a shard of glass or a small stone rubbing away at your skin when wearing the shoes.
Don't walk barefoot!
You may injure your foot by standing on something sharp or stubbing toes and tearing nails. It's been known at the practice for patients to visit with large thorns embedded in their feet and it's not that comfortable having a thorn removed!
Over the counter corn and verruca remedies (plaster/ pads)
There's nothing worse than having a painful corn. It starts to hurt and you've tried to make it feel better by wearing a different pair of shoes, or perhaps you've used an emery board to file the surface hard skin away, but it just hasn't helped. The next step you take is to buy a box of corn plasters/ pads from the chemist out of desperation to get rid of the pain. Or there's a verruca that's stubborn and is not comfortable, so you visit the supermarket to buy a well known brand of verruca treatment you've seen on the T.V. DON'T! These products contain an acid which in area's of high pressure or friction can quickly cause the area to ulcerate. This is commonly seen at our practice; red, swollen, more painful than when the patient had the corn. The ulcer may take weeks to heal with many visits to the podiatrist for treatment and re-dressings.
If you have a problem, come and see Joanna, the podiatrist, she's spent years treating many foot related problems and can often reduce your pain in one treatment.