Putting Feet First – Campaign by Diabetes UK

Putting Feet First is a campaign designed by Diabetes UK to improve awareness of the risks diabetes has on the feet. The UK is facing a huge increase in the number of patients diagnosed with diabetes with statistics showing by 2025 at least 5 million people with suffer from diabetes within the UK. Increase in diabetes is attributable to increase in ageing population and rapidly rising numbers of overweight and obese people.

Diabetic foot problems are the most common cause of amputation in the UK, according to the latest statistics from Diabetes UK. This can be avoided if the person receives good care and knows how to look after their feet

Diabetes, when poorly controlled, can damage the nerves in the feet and legs. This nerve damage is called neuropathy. High blood glucose levels can damage the nerves and weaken their ability to send signals. There are three different types of neuropathy, which can occur in a person with diabetes. All three can affect the feet in different ways.

Sensory neuropathy: this is caused by damage to the nerves that carry messages from the skin, bones and muscles to the brain. It most commonly occurs in the legs and feet, but can on occasion, occur in the arms and hands.  This neuropathy can lead to a loss of feeling and following this a failure to sense pain. Symptoms include tingling, numbness and extreme sensitivity to touch.

Motor neuropathy: is very rare and can be painful. It can cause muscle weakness and possibly muscle wasting. It can lead to foot deformities.

Autonomic neuropathy: this affects the body’s ability to control the automatic body processes. These include the sexual organs, stomach, intestine and sweat glands. It is this form of neuropathy that can make the skin on your feet become dry and in some cases crack and fissure.

People with diabetes should check and wash their feet regularly, to avoid infections or wounds.

Diabetes UK introduced putting feet first as a result of the increased rate of amputations within the country. It is estimated that people living with diabetes are 30 times more likely to have an amputation compared to the general population.

Diabetes UK has identified some key areas that they believe will help dramatically reduce the number of people with diabetes suffering amputations. They are campaigning across the UK to make sure:

  • People with diabetes know how to look after their feet and know what to expect from their health service
  • Local health services provide an integrated footcare pathway – the right treatment at the right time in the right place
  • Healthcare professionals are more aware of the risk of diabetic foot disease and provide annual checks
  • A national diabetes implementation plan is put in place, with all aspects of care monitored.

At The Footcare Centre we carry out a thorough diabetic foot screening service to all existing and new diabetic patients on an annual basis. This involves thorough neurological and vascular checks including Doppler Ultrasound. We also carry out pressure plate analysis as a screening tool to highlight potential sites of ulceration.

Following the assessment we provide you with written information about you risk status and send a letter to your GP to updating them on our findings.

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