Diabetes Think Feet First

01 March 2022

The prevalence of diabetes in the UK is increasing and with it the serious risk of complications. Just one of those complications is the risk of injury or damage to your feet. Andrea Rusbridge, a partner in Shoosmiths medical negligence team specialising in amputation claims, says

“Diabetes is now among the most common causes of amputation. It is very important for diabetics, especially the elderly, to regularly check their feet and legs for injuries, sores, ulcers or signs of poor blood flow. If a doctor fails to identify these problems or doesn’t provide treatment quickly enough, amputation is usually the unnecessary end result, but Shoosmiths has a team of specialists who can help with cases of poor treatment leading to amputation.”

Everyone diagnosed with diabetes (type 1 and 2) should have an annual check with a chiropodist or podiatrist to assess the health of their feet.  Unfortunately, this is not happening everywhere and there seems to be a postcode lottery with some diabetic clinics and GP surgeries cutting this service, placing the onus on the patient to seek private care and review.

Foot problems for anyone with diabetes are serious and at worst can lead to amputation. Feet can suffer from nerve damage, affecting feeling in the feet, reducing the awareness of injury as well as  slower healing of cuts and damage.

If you have had the annual foot check-up cancelled by your GP or clinic, you can challenge the position and request that the service be reinstated. Denying you access to this service would also be a valid reason to consider a claim against your GP/diabetic service provider, as foot injury or damage is a complication that can be managed in most instances if it is caught and treated promptly. 

The more immediate signs of a serious foot problem are listed below (from the Diabetes UK website)

tingling sensation or pins and needles (like numbness)
pain (burning)
a dull ache
shiny, smooth skin on your feet
hair loss on your legs and feet
loss of feeling in your feet or legs
swollen feet
your feet don't sweat
wounds or sores that don’t heal
cramp in your calves when resting or walking

 If you notice any of these other changes below, see your local foot team urgently:

changes in the colour and shape of your feet 
cold or hot feet
blisters and cuts that you can see but don’t feel
foul smell coming from an open wound



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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