Let’s Talk about Feet!

Diligent foot care, hygiene and regular screening will all contribute to lowering your risk of foot problems, writes Louise McHugh, Senior Podiatrist at Diabetes Ireland


People with diabetes have a special reason to take good care of their feet. Long-term high blood glucose levels may make feet more prone to injury and infection. This is because the protective sensation in the toes or feet – your ‘pain alarm system’ – may disappear over time with elevated blood glucose levels.


On the feet of a person with diabetes, common conditions such as corns or verrucas can progress to more serious complications such as ulcers if unaddressed.


People with diabetes may not feel pain in the foot, eg. from a blister, and therefore are at greater risk of infection. The main worry here is that the problem can worsen to the point where amputation is the only course of treatment. That is why it is vital to check your feet regularly, either by your GP or at a foot care clinic.


Foot assessments look for blood circulation issues, which can be damaged if blood glucose is not sufficiently managed. A foot check will also assess the feeling in your feet, as nerve damage can leave you more prone to cuts and infections that go unnoticed.


The podiatrist, doctor or nurse will also look for any deformities in the foot as well as any emerging skin conditions. They will examine your feet and notify you of your risk of diabetic foot disease: you will be classified as having either low risk, moderate risk or high risk of foot disease, active foot disease or foot disease in remission. Moderate or high-risk cases and those in remission will be looked after by community-based clinics, while those with active foot disease will be referred to a hospital for treatment.


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Diabetes Ireland runs two podiatry services: one in Dublin and one in Cork, with two podiatrists working in each.


To book an appointment at the Diabetes Ireland Care Centres in Dublin or Cork: Phone (Dublin): 01 842 6273 or Email: [email protected]

Phone (Cork): 021 427 4229 or Email: [email protected] or visit www.diabetes.ie to book online