Delaying medical help for foot problems greatly increases risk of amputation

A study of foot care by Leicester University has highlighted the importance of seeking early medical care for people with diabetes with foot problems.
The researchers reviewed 20 cases of foot problems in which care had been delayed. Out of the 20 cases, the average delay had been 18 weeks of symptoms until the patient received care. In one of the cases, the delay was 36 weeks.
The results showed that in 30% of those cases in which care was delayed, amputation was needed to prevent even more serious complications occurring. The research was presented at Diabetes UK’s Annual Professional Conference taking place in Liverpool.
Amputation is not just something that happens to others, it can happen to any of us with diabetes if a foot problem is not reported to our health team.
Commenting on the study findings, Diabetes UK’s Director of Policy and Care Improvement, Bridget Turner states: “It is extremely worrying that some people are waiting many months to seek medical attention and this shows we need to do much more to raise awareness of the issue of lower limb amputation in people with diabetes and to make sure people who are at high risk are given information about what they need to do if they have problems.”
Any change in the foot should be regarded as a foot problem and this includes in-grown toenails, bunions, dry skin, grazes, burns and wounds. Daily foot checks are recommended to help you spot any changes that may be occurring in your feet. Don’t be tempted to rely on feeling alone as nerve damage is a common consequence of diabetes that can lead foot problems to occur without necessarily feeling it.
To assist people in learning about the importance of foot checks, as well as how to perform foot checks, Diabetes UK has produced the booklet ‘How To Spot A Foot Attack’.
In addition to regular foot checks, maintaining good control of diabetes can significantly reduce the risk of suffering foot problems.
We all need a little help at first to get blood sugar levels under control so, Europe’s largest diabetes community site, has developed a unique diabetes programme for people with type 2 diabetes that are not on insulin and are unable to get test strips on prescription.
To find out more and to sign up, visit

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