This article was published on: 08/3/21 9:52 AM

Diabetes & Preventative Footcare

According to Diabetes Canada, 11 million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. 1 That’s over one third of Canada’s population!

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to use food properly. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is needed to convert sugar into energy. Insulin controls the amount of sugar in the blood. When a person has diabetes, their blood sugar or glucose is elevated which can lead to organ damage and can negatively affect parts of the body including the skin and nails.

Diabetes Effect on the Body

Complications can occur if diabetes is not well controlled. Issues with blood vessels and nerves can affect circulation and the ability to detect injury. The immune system could become compromised, increasing the risk of infection. The eyes, kidneys, heart, legs and feet are common areas of the body that may be adversely affected.

Prevention of Complications

BioPed clinics have Chiropodists and Footcare Nurses who will assess the feet and monitor regularly for changes. A Diabetes Risk Assessment is a tool used in BioPed clinics to determine an individual’s risk for complications and is redone every 3, 6 or 12 months. Something as simple as a callus or corn on the feet of patients with diabetes can create problems, leading to wounds, infection and amputation. Chiropodists and Footcare Nurses identify these risk factors and provide routine care to prevent progression to a wound or infection. These clinicians will ensure toenails and skin are properly cared for, recommend footwear best suited to the foot shape and provide education on what can be done at home to promote better foot health.

Tips for Maintaining Foot Health

• Inspect your feet daily for scratches, blisters, redness, hot spots or any draining liquid

• Always wear something on your feet for protection, such as indoor footwear

• Wearing light coloured socks will make it easier to see blood or pus if an injury does occur

• Ensure your shoes are empty before wearing them (small toys, thumb tacks, or small stones can find their way into your shoes, and if diabetes has affected your nerves, you may not sense that they are present)

• Buy shoes later in the day as swelling can accumulate as the day progresses making feet bigger

• Avoid smoking as it can decrease circulation to the legs and feet

• Wash feet daily using a mild soap, and dry well afterwards, especially between the toes

• Apply moisturizer if the skin is dry, avoid in between toes

• Avoid wearing socks or stockings that are too tight as this can restrict blood flow

• If sock seams create an indentation in the skin, they can be turned inside out, or you can opt for a diabetic sock without seams.

Contact your Chiropodist, Footcare Nurse, Nurse Practitioner or Family Doctor as soon as possible if you are at all concerned or unsure about your foot health. Find a BioPed Chiropodist or Footcare Nurse by clicking HERE