I recently had the great pleasure of meeting up with Chris aka the “Grumpy Pumper”.

Chris has been living with T1D for 24 years and like many people with diabetes he would like to see a difference in the way we think and talk about diabetes complications.

What sets Chris apart however are his tireless efforts to bring about change by sharing his experiences through his blog site The Grumpy Pumper, speaking at professional conferences, writing publications and recording videos such as this one.

There are many improvements that need to be made if we are to be successful in reducing diabetes related foot complications. At both a societal and cultural level we don’t tend to place a great importance on our foot health, all too often our feet are taken for granted only warranting attention when they hurt. Derisory jokes about common foot issues such as corns, bunions and verruca are not unusual and the professional status of those who care for people’s feet does not compare to dentists for example.

So it’s little wonder that foot health is often termed the “Cinderella” of diabetes services. For many years I have been passionate about changing this situation, which is why it’s incredibly important for more of us to listen to people’s stories who have been affected by diabetes related complications.

Chris is a well-educated man, he was checking his feet regularly and yet still he had to endure living with a foot ulcer for over 12 months.

Whilst foot problems are not inevitable – those who develop complications should not be blamed – or labelled “non-compliant”. Scare tactics do not support people, they only alienate them. We need to focus more on communicating how diabetes can affect people’s feet, what to check for and who to contact if a problem develops.

We need to stop referring to foot complications as the “diabetic foot”, I have previously written about why this needs to change – but my article is not quite as candid as the grumpy pumper’s tweet.

“My personal view is that if I didn’t have diabetes my foot ulcer would have been a foot ulcer. So given that I do have diabetes. It’s still a foot ulcer. If I had ED I doubt it would be called a diabetes related penis. I do fully appreciate that some may consider me to be one.”

It is absolutely pivotal we need to have more conversations around foot health that are framed around the individual. From a policy level we also need to make sure there is more joined up care. The Grumpy Pumper’s story demonstrates the occasions he needed to question and challenge the system. Unfortunately, not all people are quite as resilient as he is. Please watch the video as there’s much we can all learn from this clip and please share your stories. The more we speak about foot health the more chance we have to improve care and drive change.


Add a Comment