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Moderate Risk Feet

Moderate Risk Feet

Diabetes Information and Advice

With graphic of foot

Diabetes is a lifelong condition which may cause foot problems. Some of these problems can occur because the nerves and blood vessels are damaged.

This can affect:
• The circulation in your feet (ischaemia)
• The feeling in your feet (peripheral neuropathy)

These changes can be very gradual and you may not notice them. This is why we recommend that you receive regular podiatry appointments which will include a review of your risk factors and then you can agree a treatment plan to suit your needs.

If your assessment has shown that there is a moderate risk that you will develop foot problems, including ulcers, you will have either of the following risk factors:

  • You have lost some feeling in your feet
  • The circulation in your feet

Foot ulcers are breaks in the skin that struggle to heal and the development of foot ulcers in people with diabetes is serious as they are linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and amputations of the foot or leg.

Controlling your diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, quitting smoking, increasing cardiovascular exercise and controlling weight helps to reduce the risk of these life and limb threatening problems.

As your feet are at moderate risk of developing ulcers, you will need to take extra care of them and you may need treatment by a podiatrist.

If you follow the advice and information on this page, it will help you take care of your feet between visits to your podiatrist and hopefully it will help to reduce the problems in the future.

Please see below for advice on keeping your feet healthy.

  • Check Your Feet Every Day

    You should check your feet every day for any blisters, breaks in the skin, pain or any signs of infection such as swelling, heat or redness.

    If you cannot do this yourself, ask someone to help you.

  • Wash Your Feet Every Day

    You should wash your feet every day in warm water and with a mild soap. Rinse them thoroughly and dry them carefully, especially between the toes.

    Do not soak your feet as this can damage your skin, because of your condition, you may not be able to feel hot and cold very well. You should test the temperature of the water with your elbow, or ask someone else to test the temperature for you.

  • Moisturise Your Feet Every Day

    If your skin is dry, use a moisturising cream every day, avoiding the areas between your toes.

  • Toenails

    If you have been advised it is safe, cut or file your toenails regularly, following the curve of the end of your toe.

    Use a nail file to make sure that there are no sharp edges which could press into the next toe.

    Do not cut down the sides of your nails as you may create a ‘spike’ of nail which could result in an ingrown toenail.

  • Socks and Tights

    You should change your socks or tights every day.

    They should not have bulky seams and the tops should not be elasticated.

  • Avoid Walking Barefoot

    If you walk barefoot you risk injuring your feet by stubbing your toes and standing on sharp objects which can damage the skin.

  • Check Your Shoes

    Check the bottom of your shoes before putting them on to make sure that nothing sharp such as a pin, nail or glass has pierced the outer sole.

    Also, run your hand inside each shoe to check that no small objects such as small stones have fallen in.

  • Badly Fitting Shoes

    Badly fitting shoes are a common cause of irritation or damage to feet. The podiatrist who screened your feet may give you advice about the shoes you are wearing and about buying new shoes.

    If appropriate, the podiatrist may refer you to a footwear specialist.

  • Minor Cuts and Blisters

    If you check your feet and discover any breaks in the skin, or minor cuts or blisters, cover them with a sterile dressing. Do not burst blisters.

    Contact your Podiatry Department or GP immediately.

  • Hard Skin and Corns

    Do not try to remove hard skin or corns yourself. Your podiatrist will provide treatment and advice where necessary.

  • Over-the-Counter Remedies

    Never use over-the-counter corn remedies. They are not recommended for anyone with diabetes as they can damage the skin and create ulcers.

  • Avoid High or Low Temperatures

    If your feet are cold, wear socks.

    Never sit with your feet in front of the fire to warm them up.

    Always remove hot water bottles or heating pads before getting into bed.

  • Appointments

    It is important that you attend all of your appointments with the Foot Protection Team or specialist podiatrist, as well as your other regular diabetes appointments. This will reduce the risk of problems developing.