Best foot foward
Keep your feet healthy with these expert tips
Keep your feet happy
The average human – if you live to the age of 80 – takes an amazing 216,262,500 steps in their lifetime. So taking great care of those tootsies is vital, especially if you have diabetes.
Neuropathy caused by high blood glucose over time, poor circulation and infection can lead to serious foot trouble.
“Nerve damage causes a person to lose the ability to feel pain and protect themselves,” says David G. Armstrong, director of the Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance at the University of Southern California. “What you can’t feel can hurt you.”
Up to 65 per cent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy, which can cause numbness and pain in feet.
Blisters, sores, ulcers and gangrene (dead tissue) are all complications that stem from poor foot care.
However, there are warning signs to heed, and a lot of problems are preventable, says Armstrong.
Wash your feet daily with mild soap and warm water – just avoid really hot water, which can damage your skin.
KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF
Really! Slip off your socks and give yourself a daily foot exam. Look for cuts, swelling, sores, warts or changes that may have occurred. Ask a trusted person for help, or use a mirror, if needed.
Physical activity promotes circulation through your legs and feet and helps regulate your BGLs. Aim for 150-300 minutes of physical activity each week.
Trim clean and dry nails straight across, and smooth edges with a nail file. Keeping nails trimmed prevents them cutting or growing into skin. (Don’t trim too short as this can cause an infection or ingrown toenail. If you need help, ask someone you trust.)
SMOOTH YOUR SOLES
Thick patches of skin (corns or calluses) can grow on the bottom of feet. Apply Plunkett’s NS-8 Heel Balm Complex (from $11.90) to clean, dry heels and feet to quickly restore your skin.
ALERT THE DOC
“Foot complications are the most common reason someone with diabetes ends up in the hospital,” says Armstrong. Call or visit your healthcare provider if you have a cut or bruise that doesn’t heal in a few days, see signs of infection, or notice something strange.
SELECT SMART SHOES
The right shoes make all the difference. “Have your feet measured properly as both feet can be different and change over time,” explains podiatrist Danielle Veldhoen. “Make sure they are comfortable with the correct length, width and depth to avoid rubbing on toes and heels slipping. They should not need ‘breaking in’.”