This morning many newspapers have reported theCollege of Podiatry’s findingsthat British feet are getting ‘bigger and wider’, that both men and women admit to wearing incorrectly fitting shoes and that many people are suffering from daily or frequent sore, aching feet.
Deepa Khatri, Diabetes UK Clinical Advisor, explains why it’s especially important that people with diabetes wear correctly fitting shoes and monitor their feet.
“Diabetes, particularly if it’s not well managed, can often lead to poor circulation and reduced feeling in the feet. Damage to nerves and blood vessels could mean that you don’t feel that your shoes are rubbing, or you’ve developed a blister. Some people have even stood on nails or cut their foot open and not noticed because of a lack of sensation.
“If these foot complaints aren’t detected and treated early, they can very quickly turn into ulcers, which is the most common complication for which people with diabetes are admitted to hospital. Ulcers are dangerous as they can then dramatically worsen in a short space of time. They are part of the reason that people with diabetes are up to 30 times more likely to have an amputation compared to the general population. In fact, 80% of diabetes-related amputations are preceded by an ulcer.
“So if you have diabetes it is vital that you look after your feet. Wearing comfortable, correctly fitting shoes that protect and support your feet will reduce the risk of developing sores. As the College of Podiatry has advised today, you should try not to rush into buying shoes and, if possible, have them professionally fitted. I was surprised that 17% of people in the College’s survey said they have never had their feet measured. As we get older, our feet can tend to splay or widen, so it is important to check that you’re still wearing the right size by having them measured.
“Today’s survey found that a common reason for buying shoes that don’t fit is that people like a pair of shoes but they weren’t available in the right size. We all want our feet to look good, but it really is worth holding out for another pair which do fit. With so much variety available, and many shops now offering different width fittings, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice fashion for comfort.
“Monitoring your feet daily for any redness, pain, build-up of hard skin, sores, blisters or changes to the shape of the foot can help detect any problems early on. You should make footcare a part of your daily routine, just like managing your blood glucose and diet. TheTouch the Toes testalso shows a simple way of checking for any loss of sensation.
“You should also have your feet checked at least once a year by your healthcare team. Attending this appointment is really important, just as much as going along to your other checks like retinal screening. Your healthcare team should let you know who the best person is for you to contact if you have concerns about your feet and you should be aware of their referral process.”