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Diabetes education should include information about foot self-care

Caring for the feet is just as important for patients who have diabetes new research finds. 
diabetes foot

Caring for the feet is just as important for patients who have diabetes new research finds

Patients with diabetes provide 99% of their own care but foot care is often not practised, especially by older people who may have functional or cognitive problems. The incidence of diabetes has increased exponentially and it is now the most common chronic condition affecting older people.

Diabetic neuropathy affects 20-50% of people with diabetes and 15-25% of people with diabetes develop a foot ulcer, partly because loss of sensation means that they are not aware of friction from their shoes or of injury to their feet.

Untreated wounds can lead to amputation of the lower extremities and even increase the risk to life. Diabetes foot education programmes can influence the behaviour of older people in practising foot

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Caring for the feet is just as important for patients who have diabetes new research finds

Patients with diabetes provide 99% of their own care but foot care is often not practised, especially by older people who may have functional or cognitive problems. The incidence of diabetes has increased exponentially and it is now the most common chronic condition affecting older people.

Foot care is important in diagnosis of diabetes
Foot care is important for patients with diabetes. Picture: Getty

Diabetic neuropathy affects 20-50% of people with diabetes and 15-25% of people with diabetes develop a foot ulcer, partly because loss of sensation means that they are not aware of friction from their shoes or of injury to their feet.

Untreated wounds can lead to amputation of the lower extremities and even increase the risk to life. Diabetes foot education programmes can influence the behaviour of older people in practising foot self-care and controlling foot problems.

Attention to feet

The World Health Organization and International Diabetes Federation emphasise the need for foot care education to encourage practices such as: inspecting and washing the feet with careful drying, choosing and wearing suitable socks and footwear, applying lotion for dry skin, cutting nails appropriately and telling a health provider if a cut, sore or blister develops on the foot.

Researchers found that where education was provided, patients showed a reduction in problems such as fungal infection (tinea pedis) and callus formation. They conclude that all diabetes education programmes should include foot assessment and verbal and written information about foot care.


Ahmad Sharoni S, Minhat H, Mohd Zulkefli N et al (2016) Health education programmes to improve foot self-care practices and foot problems among older people with diabetes: a systematic review. International Journal of Older People Nursing. 11, 3, 214-239.

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