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Putting Feet First - DUK Campaign 2012

Putting feet first


Year of the foot 2012

Foot problems can affect anyone who has diabetes, whether they are being treated with insulin, tablets non-insulin injections or diet and physical activity only.

People with diabetes are more likely to be admitted to hospital with a foot ulcer than with any other complication of diabetes. This is because diabetes may lead to poor circulation and reduced feeling in the feet. It is important to understand how foot problems develop and how they can be prevented or detected early so that they can be treated successfully.

How diabetes can affect your feet?

Diabetes can affect your feet in many ways and this is assesed at your Annual Review. If you have no problems than your risk status will be low if you do have complications then your risk will increase and you will be referred to a specialist for treatment.

Risk Categories

  • Low Risk - You have No foot problems

  • Moderate Risk - Your foot does not have full sensation or pulse or there is deformity or infection

  • High Risk - Your foot has severe deformity or other serious complication and you need to be urgently referred to a multidiciplinary diabetes team.

How you can take some simple steps to avoid problems with your feet?

Daily Foot examination can help you towards healthy feet and make you aware of any problems.  

What a foot examination involves. Your Annual Review

Every year, everyone who has diabetes should attend a foot examination. This should involve the following:

  • Testing the sensation and pulses in your feet
  • Examinining your feet for any deformity or signs of infection or ulceration and checking your footwear is suitable.
  • Asking about any pain or previous ulceration

Remember if you are not being asked to take your shoes and socks off then it doesn't count as a proper foot review. Download "What footcare to expect

Why is sensitivity important?

Sensitivity is an important way that the body can alert you to other problems. Sensations, like sharp pain or throbbing, can tell you when you may have damage to a part of your body. In the case of feet, pain could be due to a burn, blister or cut and because you feel it you can take prompt action and appropriate treatment.

  • If sensation is impaired you may not realise if minor damage has occurred. If left unknown and untreated, the risk of infection is increased. Infections and ulcers are also painful – but not if that part of the foot also lacks sensation.

  • Knowing that you have impaired sensitivity requires you to rely more on regular visual checking for symptoms such as discoloration or swelling.
  • It is important to remember that impaired sensation itself does not cause infection and ulceration. Touch your toes

The Touch the toes test

"The Touch the Toes"* test is quick and easy, designed to assess sensitivity in your feet, and can be done in the comfort of your own home. 


Please note that the Touch the Toes test is not a substitute for your annual foot review by an appropriately trained person.

*Officially known as the Ipswich Touch Test, which was designed by Gerry Rayman and the team at Ipswich Hospital. (Ref Diabetes UK)


10 Ten Tips to Healthy Feet

DUK Information leaflet Download Document

Touch your Toes Test

DUK information leaflet Download Document

What foot care to expect

DUK Leaflet Download Document