Foot note from the UK

Preventing sparks or fighting fires

When kindly asked by Karel to write this I jumped at the opportunity. Then on reading previous contributions I quickly realised that my offering would be very different from those that have gone before and so I give it the following sub title: ‘Preventing sparks or fighting fires’
I am the clinical director of Circle Podiatry (the UK’s only multi award winning private podiatry brand) I have 27 years experience , 13 in the NHS and 14 in Private practice and so have always been aware of the dangers diabetes can cause to the lower limbs.

In my early career I worked in a hospital setting helping people with diabetes who had already run into complications – in effect fighting fires.
Since then my association with diabetes has typically been carrying out routine treatments, testing their diabetic foot status, warning them of their risk and giving them advice on how to prevent the initial sparks of problems which can so quickly become full blown fires.

My life took a turn when about 5 years ago I was diagnosed with type 2. I soon became aware of how difficult diabetes is to manage and of the problems that people face once diagnosed.

Then, with no warning my 11 year old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 (after a holiday where she was tired thirsty and getting up in the night to go to the loo a lot.)This really rocked the family and me personally especially as the magnitude of the potential problems my daughter and myself could face was highlighted by my realisation of the shocking and unacceptable fact that one person every 20 seconds is having a lower limb amputation and that 85% could be avoided.
I became aware that there was not much advice readily available in the public domain to help her. She was lucky I thought in that she had me to teach her how to care for herself and her feet but what about everyone else?

Realising that probably I was in the unique position of being the only podiatrist in the world with type 2 and a daughter with type 1, I decided it was my calling to get out of my comfort zone and launch a global awareness campaign which we have named

undefeeted

Our mission is to help people with diabetes (and their families) understand and prevent the complications with their lower limbs that can lead to ulceration and ultimately amputation.

I believe they need 3 things to stay safe in what I call the diabetic sweet spot:
1) Knowledge of how diabetes can affect their feet (via the book “ Undefeeted by diabetes”)
2) An awareness of their own personal risk (via self testing and comprehensive Podiatric diabetic foot assessments)
3) An action plan to prevent the complications ever developing (via on line resources)

Undefeeted is a not for profit organisation whose vision is to see the amputation rate drop from 1 every 20 seconds to 1 every minute by 2035.

undefeeted 1

Peter Allton
Clinical director of Circle podiatry & founder of undefeeted
Please see www.undefeeted.org for more information

July 2015