The advice given here is for commonly encountered problems and is in no way prescriptive. If you are concerned or unsure in anyway, please seek expert advice. Before wearing compression, it is advisable to undergo a thorough clinical assessment to make sure it is suitable for you, that you select the right garment, and that it fits properly.


It’s good to use a dressing for a few reasons. First, it provides a barrier between your wound and the environment, helping to protect it from infection. Second, the dressing will absorb any fluid your wound produces, helping to protect your skin from becoming over moist which can make it more susceptible to damage and infection, and cause increased pain. The dressing will also prevent your wound from sticking to any compression bandaging or garment you are wearing, helping to protect delicate healing tissue and keeping your compression cleaner for longer. The dressing you use should be appropriate for your stage of wound healing. for example, a thin film dressing can be used for a shallow almost healed wound. If the skin surrounding your wound is fragile, a dressing containing silicone may avoid damage to the skin.


Your feet should be checked daily, even if nothing seems to be changing. You may find using a mirror helps you see the parts of your feet that you have difficulty seeing. If you are unable to check because of your eye sight, or for any other reason, you should arrange for someone to help you, such as a family member or carer.

Diabetes can lead to skin changes on the feet, including cracked heels, which also known as heel fissures. Without treatment, infections and other complications can arise as these cracks are breaks in the skin that can allow micro-organisms in the environment to enter your skin, increasing the risk of infection. Tips for protecting your feet include regular checking, moisturising, and wearing appropriate footwear. Moisturise your feet daily with perfume-free moisturisers to prevent dryness and cracking. Talk to your healthcare professional about which emollient cream is right for you.

You should avoid walking barefoot as you risk injuring your feet by stubbing your toes and standing on sharp objects which can damage the skin and result in a wound that may be difficult to heal, putting you at risk of infection. Wearing only socks or thin-soled standard slippers should also be avoided for these reasons, in addition to making sure you don’t trip and fall.

The risk of foot injury and falls can be reduced by wearing appropriate footwear that fits well and offers protection to your feet. You may need to ask your podiatrist for advice.

If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, you should contact your podiatrist or GP for advice immediately. They are all signs of an infection or other problem developing with your diabetes-related foot ulcer.

● Any new pain or throbbing
● Your foot feeling hotter than usual
● Any new areas of redness, inflammation or swelling
● Any discharge
● Any new smell from your foot
● Any flu-like symptoms.

The sooner you seek treatment the sooner the problem can be resolved before it becomes more serious, which can happen quickly in people with diabetes-related foot ulcers.

Usually, people with wounds are advised to leave their dressings in place for as long as possible so that the wound is undisturbed while healing (as long as the dressing is not wet, dirty or falling off). Normally a dressing is changed between one and three times a week. However, this may not always be appropriate when dealing with a diabetes-related foot ulcer, as you may need to check your wound daily for signs and symptoms of infection. Your healthcare professional should recommend how long you can expect to keep your dressing in place, based on your individual circumstances. As with any wound, it is necessary to change your dressing immediately if fluid starts to leak out of the edge of the dressing, you can see wound fluid on the outside of the dressing or if the dressing begins to peels off. All of these factors mean that the dressing will no longer be offering protection to your wound and could result in skin damage from exposure to wound fluid in the wet dressing, and/or an increased risk of infection.

With the correct assessment and appropriate treatment plan, most diabetes-related foot ulcers will heal, but it is difficult to predict exactly how long it will take. It is dependent on how well controlled your diabetes is. If you have any other heath conditions that could affect your ability to heal, these will also need managing well to increase the changes of wound healing taking place. The condition of your wound will also influence healing time, for example if it is large or very deep it would take longer than a smaller or more shallow wound. The way pressure is offloaded from the wound on your foot is can also influence how well you heal.

If your shoes or socks are too tight, too loose or rub, then you should not wear them. The right shoes and stockings, tights or socks will help keep your feet healthy. Shoes that don’t fit well, even those that feel comfortable, can cause all sorts of problems, like blisters, which can potentially become an ulcer. When you have diabetes, it is best to get any damage to your feet, including blisters, checked out by your healthcare professional to prevent it getting any worse.

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