There are a few areas of concern for diabetics when it comes to foot and lower limb health. If well managed, it will not be a roadblock to a healthy, happy life!
A couple risk factors of diabetes relate to the feet. Specifically, developing peripheral neuropathy, which can cause numbness or a lack of sensation, and peripheral vascular issues, which can decrease the body’s ability to heal wounds.
Peripheral vascular issues are when there is poor blood flow to the extremities. Poor blood flow can lead to many different issues such as ulcers, gangrene, etc. Issues from blood flow are very serious but they are easy to eliminate from worry with one simple trick; daily inspection of the feet. Not only that but looking into proper socks is a good idea. A cotton-based sock, limiting seams, and even looking at compression socks is advised when experiencing issues like this.
Peripheral neuropathy is something you need to watch for as well. Peripheral neuropathy is nerve-based pain in the extremities commonly seen in diabetics. A lot of times this pain will be severe and leave very sensitive feet. Managing peripheral neuropathy with proper support is key to reducing the pain and your Canadian Certified Pedorthist can help you out with that.
Daily foot health is paramount for anyone who is diabetic. Consistently inspecting your feet daily is very important to keep away issues. Look for things like blistering, callousing, redness etc. All of these issues have a cause, and finding the cause and fixing it is the way to keep your feet healthy. It could be as simple as a piece of sand in your shoe, a sock that is not put on correctly or watching changes in temperature. With this in mind, always check the inside of your shoe before putting them on. Look for any foreign objects that may have fallen inside the shoe or even underneath the insert of the shoe.
Footwear is very important to monitor when you are diabetic. First, check the fit of the shoe. It needs to be secure on the foot, but the toes should not be pressing into the edges of the shoe. A blister can develop if the shoe is too big, and a wound can develop if the shoe is too small. Make sure there’s a thumb width between the toes and the end of the shoe when standing. Also, make sure the shoes have adequate width and toe box depth to allow for more space for the toes.
Limiting the number of seams in the shoe is always beneficial as they are common sites for wear on diabetic feet. When looking for footwear you want to pay attention to the material the shoes are made with and the number of seams as well. A leather-based shoe with minimal amounts of seams will allow for more space and less friction in footwear. Reducing friction on the foot will limit the amount of callusing or blistering that occurs which will keep away future issues.
An adjustable closure, like Velcro or laces, is another great feature for a diabetic. This will ensure the shoe is secure, but also makes it easy to adjust for swelling or a thicker sock.
To find out what’s best to take care of your feet, contact your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist. At these appointments not only will they educate you on proper footwear, socks etc. but they also will perform a Diabetic Risk Assessment. This will serve to determine the level of risk you are at and when to come back to see them. To find a Canadian Certified Pedorthist in your area, visit https://www.pedorthic.ca/
Written by Tyler Ashurst, C. Ped (C)