Canadian Certified Pedorthists – C. Ped (C) – urge Canadians living with diabetes to make footcare a daily priority. An estimated 2.3 million Canadians currently live with diabetes and 14 – 24 per cent of those are at risk of developing a foot ulcer that will result in the amputation of a foot or leg.
Long term complications in people with diabetes frequently manifest in foot problems such as infections and ulcerations that can lead to amputation. In fact, foot problems are the leading cause of hospitalization for Canadians living with diabetes.
The majority of foot problems diagnosed in people with diabetes could have been avoided through daily footcare and proper shoe selection. Many people with diabetes have reduced circulation or sensation in their feet (called neuropathy), and are not able to feel if something in their shoe or the shoe itself is irritating their foot. To avoid the development of wounds or ulcers, it is vital that people living with diabetes visually examine their feet daily and, when purchasing shoes, have them professionally fitted rather than relying on how their feet ‘feel’.
Diabetes Canada recommends that all people with diabetes should be instructed on proper footcare and have a foot examination at least once a year to avoid the risk of amputation. Foot examinations should include an assessment of any structural abnormalities of the foot such as feet that lean excessively to one side, causing friction between the side of the foot and the shoe, signs of neuropathy and vascular disease, and evidence of any ulcerations and/or infections.
Along with regular foot examinations, a daily footcare routine and proper shoe selection are equally vital to help maintain the health of the feet and protect against foot problems that could lead to amputation. For patients with diabetes, Canadian Certified Pedorthists recommend the following footcare and shoe fitting tips: