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Diabetes - Why is my foot important?

Having diabetes means you’re at much greater risk of developing foot problems.

This is because raised blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, can damage the sensation in your feet.

It can also affect your circulation, which can lead to you getting less blood supply to your feet. Without a good blood supply you may have problems with cuts and sores healing. You may also get cramps and pain in your legs or feet.

If you don’t get these problems treated, they could lead to foot ulcers, infections and, at worst, amputations. Most foot problems can be prevented with good, regular foot care.

So it’s really important that any foot problem is taken seriously – both by YOU and your care team.

Research has shown that rapid and intensive treatment of foot complications in clinics with a team of experienced specialist health care professionals results in better outcomes for patients.

Put simply, the quicker a specialist team sees your foot problem, the better the outcome is likely to be.

The Foot Clinic

The diabetic foot clinic specialises in providing expert care for patients with serious foot problems. People are usually referred by another health professional to us for expert care. The clinic provides specialist assessment and treatments including ulcer debridement and wound care, and pressure relief therapies.

What sort of care should I expect?

Your initial assessment will be with the specialist podiatry team. We will ask you about your medical history and about your foot problem. It is important for us to know about your lifestyle, hobbies and usual footwear.

We will assess the circulation to your feet and if your diabetes has affected the nerves causing any loss of sensation. We might ask you to go for an Xray or blood test as part of your care.

We will then work with you to agree your personalised care plan. This may involve treatment, advice about the best footwear and how to look after your feet.

First appointments can take 1-2 hours, so be prepared to be with us a little while. Follow up appointments are usually shorter.

Who might I see?

During your visits to the foot clinic (and depending on your individual needs) you may see a variety of different staff - sometimes in different clinics. This is because no one person can look after a diabetic foot problem - it requires a whole team of people, who all specialise in different areas. This is called a ‘multidisciplinary foot team’ or MDFT.

The MDFT at QEH includes a consultant diabetologist, diabetes specialist podiatrists and diabetes specialist nurses. There is also input into the clinic from orthotists and microbiologists. We hold joint clinics with our orthopaedic and vascular consultant colleagues.

Where can I be seen?

Mostly, care for acute diabetic foot complications is based in hospital clinics, although some clinics are available in the community. Your care might be ‘shared’ between the foot clinic and community team – for example, you may visit the foot clinic once a week, but see your nurse or community podiatrist in between visits.

See below for more information

 

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