Diabetic & High Risk Foot Management
When you have diabetes, your feet are at risk because diabetes can cause damage to the nerves in your feet, blood circulation and infection. There is an increased risk of foot ulcers and amputation so it is imperative that you take care of your feet every day.
The management of diabetic feet and high risk feet often include custom made foot orthotics and accommodative diabetic-friendly footwear in order to reduce the risk of pressure areas developing.
The nature of diabetic and high risk feet often require clients to pay extra attention to their feet in order to ensure that their new foot orthotics and shoes are doing what they have been designed to do – protect their feet and reduce the development of pressure areas.
Important Protocols For Wearing In Foot Orthotics
The foot orthotics you have been prescribed have been designed to redistribute weight evenly around your foot and to reduce the risk of pressure areas developing. However, given that most diabetic patients have reduced sensation in their feet and a high risk of ulcerations, we encourage you to follow these protocols when wearing your new foot orthotics, in order to ensure your feet are safe.
- Wear in the orthotics slowly and gradually – do not wear the orthotics full time for the first few days for you to get used to them. Wear them for 1-2 hours a day for the first few days until you can walk comfortably and safely.
- DO NOT go for long walks in the first few weeks as your feet will not be accustomed to the foot orthotics and it may lead to pressure
- If you are required to wear your orthotics full-time as part of your management plan (e.g. post felt management, wound remission), you are advised to check your feet hourly for the first 2-3 days for any signs of pressure areas that may have been caused by your new foot orthotics.
- Inspect your feet for any unwanted signs of pressure or rubbing that could lead to skin breakdown (e.g., redness, unfamiliar marks, etc.)
- Continue to check your feet 3-4 times per day for any signs of pressure areas that may have been caused by your foot orthotics
- Regular reviews are mandatory and are scheduled for the first 2-3 weeks by your orthotist in order to make sure that the foot orthotics are accomplishing their intended aims. Foot orthotics can be fine-tuned and adjusted made if needed
- Contact us immediately for an appointment if you encounter any discomfort or pressure issues associated with the foot orthotics
Important Protocols for Wearing New Shoes
Prescribed Diabetic shoes are Extra Depth and Width designed to provide you with sufficient room to accommodate your orthotics as well as your high-risk feet. However, given that most diabetic patients have reduced sensation in their feet, it can be difficult to tell what is happening inside the shoe whilst you are walking.
Therefore, we suggest the following in order to ensure the shoes are accommodating your feet properly, whilst providing sufficient comfort and safety.
- Wear your shoes in slowly and gradually
- Check your feet regularly for any rub marks, blisters or sores that could be caused by the shoes or a foreign object (e.g.,stones caught within the shoe, seam of your socks)
- Check the inside of each shoe with your hand before placing your feet in them
- Look for damage: Check for ulcers, cuts, sores, bruises, redness, new calluses and other signs of injury or damage, including the soles of your feet, between toes and on lower legs. A mirror may be helpful for examining the bottom of your feet.
- Feel Your Feet: Take note of changes in feeling which can include numbness, tingling or loss of feeling to touch. Be aware that you may not feel pain from visible injuries due to loss of sensation in your feet.These injuries still need attention even if they are not currently causing you pain.
- Check Foot Temperature: Be aware of the temperature of your feet and monitor for noticeable changes (hot or cold). Inspect the soles of your feet daily.
- Regular reviews are recommended and often scheduled by your orthotist in order to make sure that the shoes are accomplishing their intended aims
- Contact us for an appointment if you encounter any discomfort or pressure issues associated with the shoes
- NEVER walk barefoot
We encourage you to adhere to these protocols in order to ensure that your high-risk diabetic feet are safe and that your new foot orthotics and shoes are achieving their intended prescription aims. Non-compliance with these protocols may lead to complications such as ulcerations and the increased risk of amputation.