Men...we're looking at you
Studies have shown men have a certain reluctance in tackling health concerns, and much prefer to fix those pesky foot problems with the good ol’ band-aid approach. If you think about all the men in your family and life, you probably have a few loved ones who fit this ''she'll be right" profile. Now you're probably thinking, they're just feet right? Surely they can take care of themselves? But for the 1 million plus Australians currently living with diabetes, over 300,000 of those either have diabetic foot disease risk factors (poor feeling or poor circulation in their feet) or actual diabetic foot disease (sores, infection or really poor circulation in their feet).
Here's the thing
Men are three times more likely to suffer from diabetic foot disease than women. And today, on World Diabetes Day, 12 Australians will undergo a diabetes-related amputation. Twelve might seem like a low number. But when you add that to the 12,500 Australians living with an amputation, and their families also living with a diabetes-related amputation, the impact of diabetic foot disease is growing at an alarming rate. It certainly makes you think about the large proportion of men adopting the 'ignore it and it will go away' approach, and how many diabetic foot related problems and complications could be prevented or avoided if feet were given the much needed attention they deserve. So the big question for all the Aussie blokes out there living with diabetes is...how well do you know your feet?
0Australians are in hospital right now because of diabetic foot disease
0Australians are living with diabetic foot disease today
Helping a stubborn
is easier than you think!
Know the risk factors
Everyone's feet are different, and as much as Dr Google is helpful, the only way for people with diabetes to know how healthy their feet are, is to book in for a yearly check-up with their doctor or podiatrist. It's as simple as taking your shoes and socks off, something we all do every day.
Be aware of changes
Is your loved one complaining of hot or cold feet? Have they lost sensation? Are they going through band-aids on a stubborn sore that won't heal? For people with diabetes, the risk factors of diabetic foot disease can creep up on them, so make a doctor or podiatrist appointment for them as soon as you notice any foot changes.
Get the right treatment
Corns and Calluses are signs that feet are getting too much pressure. In people with limited feeling, they are also a warning sign of ulcers forming. Avoid over-the-counter corn or callus removal methods as these can cause wounds, and instead check with your doctor or podiatrist for treatment options.
Are you putting your healthiest foot forward?
Managing diabetes takes a lot of work, and at the end of a long day the last thing you want to do is think about your feet. But by adding a few simple daily steps to your routine and chatting with your health professional regularly, you can put your healthiest foot forward. Tap or click on the following boxes to check your foot care knowledge.
Who is at-risk of developing diabetic foot problems?
a) People with type 1 diabetes
b) People with type 2 diabetes
c) People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause damage to blood vessels and peripheral nerves that can result in problems in the legs and feet. The most common of these problems is the Diabetic Foot Ulcer (wound occurring on the foot), commonly caused by a lack of sensation and/or poor blood supply in a person with diabetes.
How often should my Doctor check my feet?
a) Only if I have an injury
b) At least once a year
c) Every 2 years
d) Feet don't need checking
Ensure your GP, Podiatrist or other diabetes-advisor professional inspects your feet at least once every 12 months, or more regularly if you have a current (or history of) foot problems.
Can a small cut progress into a bigger problem?
Often people with diabetic foot disease will have an injury, such as a blister or a cut, and because they have no feeling in that region, they don't realise it's there. If you aren't checking your feet, you're less likely to notice and treat an injury, allowing it to progress to a more serious, advanced stage.
Should my Doctor look at my feet in a diabetes check-up?
c) Only if I have a foot ulcer
Yes! It's important to always take your shoes and socks off during your annual diabetes check-up. And it's not just about your feet, your shoes should also be inspected for signs of wear & tear.
How often should I wear shoes?
a) Outside only
b) Outside and inside when using power tools
c) At all times - inside and outside
Wear well-fitting footwear, both indoors and outdoors. This is important as you can easily injure yourself without realising (due to loss of sensation in the feet) by stepping on something hard or sharp.
When should I see a health professional if I notice a change in my foot?
a) Straight away
b) Only if it gets worse
c) If it doesn't heal within a week
Report any signs and symptoms to your Health Care Professional as soon as possible for examination. By following your daily foot care checklist, any changes can be reported early.