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Diabetes foot care

What is it?

What causes it?

Diabetes is a condition that causes your blood sugar levels to become too high [1].

Macaroons which indicate a food item high in sugar

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the cells that produce insulin. Insulin helps the body to use sugar [1].


Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body not producing enough insulin, or the body not reacting to the insulin that is produced. Type 2 diabetes is more common, and is linked to being overweight and having family members with the condition [2].

What are the symptoms?

Diabetes can cause changes to your circulation, so you may have reduced blood flow to your feet. This can lead to problems with wound healing. Diabetes can also damage the nerves, which can reduce the feeling in your feet or lead to painful sensations. This is called neuropathy [2]. The mobility of the joints in your feet can also be affected by diabetes – they can become stiffer. This can lead to abnormal biomechanics, placing greater pressure in certain areas, leading to hard skin and corns [3]. In severe cases, diabetes can lead to non-healing wounds (ulcers), gangrene, and amputation [1]. It is extremely important to have your feet checked regularly (at least once a year) by a qualified podiatrist if you are diabetic. We offer this service at Open Podiatry.

What podiatry treatments are available?

  • Full diabetic foot assessment – our podiatrist is highly experienced in diabetic foot care and will conduct a series of vascular (checking your circulation), neurological (checking the feeling in your feet), and biomechanical tests, using the latest equipment. You will be informed of your risk status, which will determine how often you should see a podiatrist. A full report of all findings will be sent to your GP.

  • Diabetic treatments – we will carry out any required nail care, treat any hard skin and corns, assess and advise on footwear, and we may prescribe insoles to address any high pressure areas on your feet to prevent further complications [3]. We will also give you general advice on how to manage your foot health and your condition with focus on ulcer prevention.


1.     Daneman, D. (2006) Type 1 diabetes. The Lancet, 367 (9513), p847-858.

2.     Murray, H.J., Young, M.J., Hollis, S., Boulton, A.J. (1996) The association between callus formation, high pressures and neuropathy in diabetic foot ulceration. Diabetic Medicine, 13 (11), p979-982.

3. Peppa, M., Uribarri, J., and Vlassara, H. (2003) Glucose, advanced glycation end products and diabetes complications: what is new and what works. Clinical Diabetes, 21 (4), p186-187.

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