Living well with Diabetes

There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed. Balancing the food you eat with exercise and medicine (if prescribed) will help you control your weight and can keep your blood glucose in the healthy range.

This can help prevent or delay complications. Many people with diabetes live long and healthful lives.

The most common contributor to diabetic foot pain is a nerve problem called Peripheral Neuropathy. This is where the nerves are directly affected by the disease process. There are basically three types of peripheral neuropathy: sensory, motor, and autonomic neuropathy.

sensory diabetic neuropathy" increases the risk a person with diabetes will not notice problems with his or her feet. Nearly 10% of people with diabetes develop foot ulcers due to peripheral vascular disease and nerve damage. People with diabetes may not notice sores or cuts on the feet, which in turn can lead to an infection. Nerve damage can also affect the function of foot muscles, leading to improper alignment and injury and also, Diabetes is associated with poor circulation (blood flow). Inadequate blood flow increases the healing time for cuts and sores. Peripheral vascular disease refers to compromised blood flow in the arms and legs. Poor blood flow increases the risk that infections will not heal. This, in turn, increases the risk of ulcers and gangrene, which is tissue death that occurs in a localized area when there is an inadequate blood supply.

the common foot problems can lead to pain or infections that make it hard to walk. If you have any of these problems, make sure you get prompt treatment from your doctor.

•Diabetic foot ulcers: wounds that do not heal or become infected

•Infections: skin infections (cellulitis), bone infections (osteomyelitis) and pus collections (abscesses)

•Gangrene: dead tissue resulting from complete loss of circulation

•Charcot arthropathy: fractures and dislocations that may result in severe deformities

•Amputation: partial foot, whole foot or below-knee amputation


Know how to look after your feet and know what care to expect from the health service. 

  • Be aware of any loss of sensation in your feet. Do not go barefoot and avoid extremes of temperature if you think you have lost feeling in any part of your feet.
  • Touch the toes test. Ask a family member or friend to assess the feeling in your toes by doing a quick, easy test at home.
  • If you have any loss of sensation in your feet always check inside your footwear for foreign objects before you put them on.
  • Look after your toenails. Don’t cut down the sides of your nail as this could lead to ingrowing toenails. If you have any difficulty with your foot-care, ask to be put in touch with your local podiatrist (chiropodist). Note: you may have to self- pay for nail cutting service. 
  • Avoid using corn-removing plasters or blades. Blades of any kind may damage your skin and provide entry for infection
  • Always wear well-fitting shoes that protect and support your feet and whenever possible don’t wear shoes with bare feet. 
  • Maintain good glucose levels. Good glucose control can prevent foot problems in the future by keeping the nerves and blood vessels that serve the feet healthy. Speak to your Doctor or practice nurse  
  • Make sure you attend your annual foot review (For 12 years old +) where your feet will be examined by an appropriately trained person, usually a diabetic specialist nurse. Do ask to be referred to a podiatrist if you have concerns.
  • Know your potential  risk. At the end of your annual foot review, you should be told your potential risk of developing foot problems and if you will be referred. 
  • Are your feet at increased or high risk? If so, make sure you have been referred to a specialist for expert advice. 
  • Check your feet every day for any signs of redness, pain, damage to the skin, swelling or build up of hard skin. Use a mirror if you can not see the sole of your foot.  Look for any changes in the shape of your feet.
  • Keep useful numbers handy, and know who to contact at the first sign of problems with your feet