Diabetic foot ulcer

Diabetes and the foot

By: Mölnlycke Health Care, July 17 2012Posted in: Diabetic foot ulcer

A person holding both their feet with both their hands People with diabetes can develop two main complications that affect the feet.
  • Peripheral neuropathy – Nerve damage that can cause loss of sensation
  • Peripheral vascular disease – A reduction in the blood supply to the feet and legs

In addition, if blood sugars are raised, the body finds it more difficult to fight infection. These problems together put the foot at risk of serious complications such as foot ulceration and amputation.

Why diabetic feet are dry

Many people with diabetes find that the skin on their feet and legs is very dry. This is because the part of the nervous system that controls the sweating of the feet (the autonomic system) is damaged. This sort of neuropathy reduces or stops sweating altogether.

In addition, a reduction in the blood supply to the legs and feet can cause dryness. In affected limbs, there may be little hair growth, and the skin may become thin, shiny,
and very dry.

Diabetes can also make the skin and tissues of the foot less flexible.

Callouses (areas of very hard skin) are a sign that the skin is under pressure, and should always be treated professionally by a HPC registered podiatrist.

Why can dry feet be a problem?

If your feet are dry, they are prone to cracks and tiny breaks in the skin. Infection may enter the body through these cracks, and cause a foot infection.

The crack or break might not heal quickly and develop into a bigger crack or hole. This is a foot ulcer – A serious complication of diabetes and a risk factor for amputation.

It is very important to keep the skin of the feet well moisturised to help prevent diabetic foot complications. Emollients are very effective moisturizers that soothe, smooth and hydrate the skin. Emollients keep the skin moist and flexible. The application of an emollient should be part of your daily foot care routine.

Download our leaflet Diabetes and the foot (416 kB pdf) for more product information.

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