Why is there so much concern about proper foot care in patients with diabetes? The answer lies in the fact that diabetes, especially if difficult to control, has far reaching side effects and implications for multiple body systems and just about each complication has a manifestation impacting your foot health.
1. Strive to achieve good diabetic control.
The less your blood sugar fluctuates, the less likely you will be to suffer from complications. This can be achieved by finding the right balance of diet, exercise and medication. Stable and well controlled diabetes can sometimes be very difficult to achieve even with the greatest of effort, but as they say in the sports world “the best defense is a good offense”. The likelihood of diabetic foot complication or foot pain decreases dramatically with stable blood sugar levels.
2. Check your feet every day.
Adopt the habit of checking and inspecting your feet every day. Even minor cuts, scratches, skin cracks and blisters can rapidly become a source of infection requiring immediate attention. Make daily foot checks part of your daily routine. Whether you check your feet first thing in the morning or last thing at night, you only need to spend 10-15 seconds each foot. Anything that was not there the last time that you looked is cause for concern. Be sure to check the top and bottom of both feet, paying close attention to the heels and in between each toe. This prevention check may be the most important thing you do to avoid serious diabetic foot problems or foot pain.
3. Proper nail and skin care.
You should only attempt to attend to your own foot care if you are agile enough to bend and reach your feet without straining and if you are able to clearly see your toenails and the skin around them. If you are unable to bend, see clearly or if you are unable to manoeuvre nail nippers or clippers, you run the risk of harming yourself. You are much better off having a family member or trained foot professional cut your nails once a month or so. If you have corns, callous or any other type of skin issue like warts, fungal infections or dry flaky skin, you are also advised to seek professional treatment. You should not try to treat these conditions yourself or with over the counter drug store products. These products are often clearly labelled “Not for Diabetic use”. Prompt effective treatment provided by a Chiropodist will help you to avoid serious infections and complications. Diabetic patients are also often advised not to receive pedicures at nail salons because their foot care requires the use of sterile instruments, proper protocol and a medically trained clinician to not only provide the foot care but to assess and evaluate your foot health.
4. Protect your feet.
Diabetics should wear shoes or slippers at all times......inside and outside the house. A Diabetic should avoid going barefoot as much as possible as they run the risk of trauma caused by stepping on broken glass or other foreign bodies that cut or embed into the skin. Some diabetic patients have diminished or impaired sensation, and report feeling tingling, pins and needles or numbness which leave them at risk for bumps and scrapes that can go unnoticed and unattended. CanadaPhysio promotes education and awareness of the many complications that diabetic patients may face. We encourage scheduled foot exams to detect early signs of circulatory or nerve damage which is a common feature of this condition. Your Chiropodist can teach you how to inspect your feet and provide you with tips on proper foot care but most importantly, your CanadaPhysio Chiropodist can help you to keep your feet healthy, avoid complications and ensure prompt medical care when problems arise.
CanadaPhysio is your one stop wellness centre. We are a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation centre with various locations throughout Toronto, Mississauga, the GTA, Whitby and London, Ontario. We specialize in comprehensive physical therapy programs which include or integrate treatment for foot pain or foot disorders provided by experienced and licenced health care professionals.