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Putting feet first

Published: 29/11/2017

Diabetes UK is hosting a foot care workshop in Portsmouth this World Diabetes Day on Tuesday 14 November as part of its ‘Putting Feet First’ national campaign.

Aiming to halve the number of diabetes-related major amputations in the area,Diabetes UK, together with Solent NHS Trust, have organised the local education session to advise on how diabetes can cause potential problems for feet.

Over 75 people from the area will attend the event which will focus on prevention and is designed for people with diabetes who currently have healthy feet and are not seeing a podiatrist.

During the workshop at the Langstone Hotel, attendees will hear from expert podiatrists in the Portsmouth area: Anna Littlejohn, James Tomkins and Victoria Bonham about how diabetes can affect your feet, the importance of good foot wear and how to look after your feet.

Yian Jones, a podiatry patient will also give a personal account of the impact that developing a diabetes-related foot complaint has had on his life. Yian, a former social worker from Havant, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes aged 21.

49-year-old Yian said: “In 2010 I had a gastric bypass to help me with my weight. I lost half my body weight and started exercising soon after my surgery. Once I became more mobile, however was when my foot problems started. I suffered from foot ulcers and then a Charcot appeared. Treated by the excellent foot care team at Solent NHS Trust, unfortunately, after five years of care, it’s now at a point that they will need to amputate below the knee in the near future because there’s no more they can do. It’s devastating but I really want people to know the importance of foot care. I hope by relaying my personal story, people with diabetes in the Portsmouth area will understand how important it is to take care of your feet. Don’t ignore any problems. Please get them checked immediately.”

In Portsmouth, according to recent research, there were 131 diabetes-related amputations between 2013 and 2016, 43 of which were major amputations, resulting in an individual losing a limb. South Eastern Hampshire had 162 diabetes-related amputations and 43 major amputations in the same period.

Anna Littlejohn, an Advanced Practitioner Podiatrist from Portsmouth who will be speaking at the event, said: “Portsmouth and the surrounding area have very high amputation rates and by putting this workshop on, we really want to raise awareness of the risks of diabetes-related amputations. All day, every day our clinics are full with ulcerations. Our aim is to prevent these resulting in amputations that can be life threatening. We work within the diabetes multidisciplinary team at Queen Alexandra hospital and have close links with the vascular team. Prevention is better than cure and this is the main message that we want to get across.”

Jill Steaton, South East Regional Manager of Diabetes UK and an advisor at the event, said: “A single preventable amputation is one too many. This workshop not only gives people with diabetes the necessary practical advice and information about how to look after their feet, but will also help them understand what healthcare they should be getting.”

Demand has been very high and the free workshop is now sold out but if you are interested in possible future similar events please email us we can contact you about future opportunities.

People can find out more about the ‘Putting Feet First’ campaign at

The Solent Diabetes Association are kindly part-sponsoring the event.

– ENDS –

Jill Steaton is available for media interviews – please call Katherine Porter on 01372 720148 or arrange an interview.

Alternatively, contact the Diabetes UK Media Relations Team on 020 7424 1165 or email

For urgent out of hours media enquiries only please call 07711 176 028. ISDN facilities available.

Amputations Data

This data has been taken from Public Health England and the Cardiovascular Intelligence Network and analysed by Diabetes UK.

Notes to editor:

1. Diabetes UK’s aim is creating a world where diabetes can do no harm. Diabetes is the most devastating and fastest growing health crisis of our time, affecting more people than any other serious health condition in the UK - more than dementia and cancer combined. There is currently no known cure for any type of diabetes. With the right treatment, knowledge and support people living with diabetes can lead a long, full and healthy life. For more information about diabetes and the charity’s work, visit

2. Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

3. People withType 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It usually affects children or young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity.

4. People withType 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance). 85 to 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2. They might get Type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required.

For more information on reporting on diabetes, download our journalists’ guide: Diabetes in the News: A Guide for Journalists on Reporting on Diabetes(PDF, 3MB).


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