DIABETES

Diabetes and your feet – Foot Health Tips

Making the Connection & Tips on Preventing Complications

Diabetes affects the lives of more than 9 million Canadians.  Many people have diabetes and don’t even know it!  Diabetes is the inability for the body to make or properly use insulin, and it impairs the body’s ability to convert sugars, starches and other foods into energy. The long-term effects of an elevated blood sugar can lead to serious damage of the eyes, heart, kidney, nerves, and feet.  The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) recommends, at minimum, annual foot screenings for all diabetics and endorses the “CAWC Diabetic Foot Risk Assessment” exam that is always complimentary at all BioPed Footcare Clinics across Canada.

Diabetics who see a Canadian Certified Pedorthist or Registered Chiropodist for their footwear and custom orthotics are less likely to have serious foot complications, which can lead to ulcer, amputation or even death.  Keeping your feet in good health, starts with keeping your blood sugar in a healthy and consistent range, as recommended by your family physician.

 

How does Diabetes affect my feet?

In Diabetic Patients, the storage of blood sugar is affected.  This means that the sugar remains in the bloodstream and if consistently high for a period of months or years, it can begin to attack small blood vessels and nerves.  The smallest of them are found in our feet and therefore, tend to be affected first.  A Diabetic’s feet may be painful, cold or change colour and this can be a sign of blood vessel disease.  They may begin to detect a burning, tingling (pins & needles) or numbness in the feet that lasts all day and night. These are signs of neuropathy (nerve damage) and unfortunately, neuropathy is NOT reversible.  Neuropathy is prevented by strict blood sugar control early on, before the onset of the disease, but can also slow the progression of neuropathy, if you are already experiencing symptoms.

diabetes2

Once neuropathy is present in your feet, you are then at risk for a foot wound and other complications, such as amputation and death.  It is crucial that you follow our footcare guide if you are diabetic and seek professional footcare from a BioPed Foot Specialist.

 

Prevent Foot Complications Related to Diabetes

THE FOLLOWING FOOTCARE ADVICE IS COMPOSED OF RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE AMERICAN ORTHOPAEDIC FOOT AND ANKLE SOCIETY, THE CANADIAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION AND BIOPED FOOTCARE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS:

  1. Do not smoke. Smoking decreases the blood supply to your feet.
  2. Never walk barefoot, neither indoors nor out.
  3. Examine your feet daily for redness, warmth, blisters, ulcers, scratches, cuts and nail problems from shoes or other sources. Look at the bottom of your feet and between the toes. Use a mirror or have someone else look for you.
  4. Call your Doctor/BioPed Foot Specialist immediately if you experience any injury to your foot. Even a minor injury is an emergency for a patient with diabetes.
  5. Examine your shoes for foreign objects, protruding nails and rough spots inside before putting them on. Look and feel.
  6. Buy shoes late in the day. Never buy shoes that need “breaking in.” They should be immediately comfortable. Request shoes with deep toe boxes and shoes made of leather or other flexible upper material. Your footwear should be fitted by a professional, such as a BioPed Certified Pedorthist.
  7. Do not wear new shoes more than two hours at a time. Rotate your shoes. Do not wear the same ones every day.
  8. Never wear flip flops.
  9. Moisturize your entire foot if your skin is dry, but avoid putting cream between your toes. Dry skin can crack and let bacteria in. Try Footlogix®, a premium Canadian company specializing in diabetic creams and sold at all BioPed locations. Learn More»
  10. Keep feet away from heat sources (heating pads, hot water bottles, electric blankets, radiator, fireplaces). You can burn your feet without knowing it. Water temperature should be less than 92 degrees. Estimate the temperature with your elbow or bath thermometer (you can get one in any store that sells infant products).
  11. Do not file down, remove or shave calluses, corns or warts yourself. These should be taken care of by a BioPed Registered Chiropodist. Learn more about Chiropody»
  12. Do not use any chemicals or strong antiseptic solutions on your feet. Iodine, salicylic acid, corn/callus removers and hydrogen peroxide are potentially dangerous, unless used by a Chiropodist/Doctor.
  13. Trim your toenails straight across, or have a Chiropodist do it for you if you find it too difficult or lack sensation. Avoid salon pedicures.
  14. Do not wear stockings or socks with tight elastic bands and do not use garters. Wear light-colored socks and do not wear any socks with holes. This makes detecting having stepped on something much easier. Always wear socks with your shoes. BioPed sells Canada’s #1 diabetic sock, Simcan®.
  15. In the more damp and cool months, avoid getting your feet wet in the snow and rain. Too much moisture can lead to a wound or infection. Also, avoid letting toes get cold. You may already have poor blood circulation in the tiny toe vessels and this combined with cold weather can result in blackened toes.

 

 



Read More Articles:
  • custom orthotics

    Custom Orthotics

    Next time you put on your favourite shoes, take a moment to check out the insoles. Often times, you’ll find there’s not a lot in there! Manufacturers typically use thin liners or generic foam insoles that do not provide any support to the arches of your feet. When you purchase insoles from a pharmacy or department store, chances are very high that they are not a perfect match for your feet. Although there are some products that claim to be “custom fit,” this is not the same as custom made. Continue reading to learn more about custom orthotics and how they can help you....

  • pain from standing on your feet

    Foot Pain from Standing on your Feet

    Do you find that your feet or legs hurt from standing during the day? What if your job requires you to stand for long periods of time? The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) states that 2 out of every 3 workers suffer from some type of foot problem! While it’s true that aching feet are a real pain, so are tired legs, and sore joints. There are many “headaches” at work but leg, joint and foot aches shouldn’t be commonplace....

  • overuse-foot-injuries-runners

    Foot Injuries In Runners From Overuse

    Foot injuries in runners seem to go hand-in-hand (or should we say foot-in-foot). After all, the foot strikes the ground with enormous force as it supports the weight of the body. Studies show that running injuries tend to move along what is referred to as the “kinetic chain.”...

  • featured-image-orthotics-golf

    Can Orthotics and Proper Shoes Improve Your Golf Game?

    Researchers are now suggesting that your shoes and what you place into your shoes can actually improve your golf game. According to published medical research from “Clinical Sports Medicine”, and “Medical Science and Sports Medicine”, there are new ways to improve your game and give you a competitive edge. ...

  • foot-pain-stretches-featured-image

    Foot Pain Stretching – Relieve Your Foot Pain

    You wake from bed in the morning and as soon as you stand, you experience a terrible heel pain. After walking for approximately 10 minutes, the pain begins to subside. Then, after getting up from sitting for a period of time or after standing and......

  • Bunions – Relieve The Pain

    Most bunion pain sufferers don't actually know the wide array of solutions that exist to help relive their foot pain. As a result, most bunion pain sufferers simply try and live with it. We are here to change that and provide relief to those suffering from this type of pain....

  • plantar-fasciitis-heel-pain

    Plantar Fasciitis Foot, Heel & Arch Pain

    Does this sound familiar? You wake from bed in the morning and as soon as you stand, you experience a terrible heel pain. After walking for approximately 10 minutes, the pain begins to subside. Then, after getting up from sitting for a period of time or after standing and walking for a period of time, the pain returns and is at its peak....

  • featured-image-standing

    Do You Work On Your Feet All Day?

    Standing all day, whether work or at play, can do a real number on your feet, legs, and back! Each year in Canada, thousands of work-related foot injuries are reported and an increasing number of sick days are taken because of leg and foot problems....