Good footcare improves health of people with diabetes, expert says

Good footcare improves health of people with diabetes, expert says

The health outcomes of people with diabetes will improve if all healthcare professionals are trained to detect and treat foot related complications, a top diabetes consultant has said.

Dr Wing May Kong has outlined in a blog why healthcare professionals should collaborate with podiatrists to improve footcare for people with diabetes.

Published on the English Diabetes Footcare Network (EDFN) website, the blog highlights the importance of early detection and how to combat foot complications through simple lifestyle alterations.

Dr Kong said: “A blister is a minor inconvenience and sore feet usually quickly recuperate after a rest. But diabetes can damage the nerves and blood flow to the foot which can mean that minor wounds or blisters don’t heal and become an ulcer (a non-healing open wound).

“An ulcer can get infected and deteriorate to the point of needing to go into hospital or even needing amputation over just a few days and sometimes even less.”

She added: “Reading about diabetes-related problems can seem quite scary, so it’s helpful to focus on what we can do to keep healthy (feet included) and what we need to feel confident about where and when to get help if a problem develops.

“Healthier eating, stopping smoking and regular exercise can have huge benefits for feet, as well overall health.

“Prioritising lifestyle changes isn’t easy so finding support that works for the individual is important.”

Dr Kong is now working with researchers from Queen Mary’s University London to address health inequalities in relation to footcare in Northwest London.

As part of the project, the team are working with local communities to understand how they can communicate more effectively with different groups about footcare and how to ensure their services are accessible to everyone. For instance, getting time off work to attend clinics is often difficult for people in low paid work.

“We also need to do more to support people experiencing homelessness who face many barriers to accessing healthcare,” said Dr Kong.

She added: “Some of these barriers are practical – not having a smartphone or data or a place to charge your phone leaves you excluded from digital support and communication.

“Also, mental health problems are more common, which can make it difficult for someone to prioritise their footcare.”

To read the blog, click here.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Author: Eileen Gilbert