Whilst we all tend to know that our feet play an incredibly important part of our day to day activities, we often take it for granted that our feet are “healthy” enough to contend with all we need them to do!

For diabetics, foot health is an extremely important area for careful watch and consideration, particularly for blood circulation and nerve issues. With an increasing occurrence of Diabetes across the population, we thought it beneficial to bring to light some important reminders and tips for optimising foot health when dealing with this health issue.

How can Diabetes affect my feet?

For a diabetic, the issue is having too much sugar in the blood stream. This can cause nerve damage and poor blood flow, which can lead to serious foot problems.

Damaged nerves can stop sending (or sending too slowly) signals through the body, losing feeling in your feet. Example being, you may have a pebble inside your sock causing a sore, or a blister caused by ill-fitting shoes. Sores on the feet can become infected – the high blood glucose in a diabetics system feeds infection, and it gets progressively worse. Nerve damage can also cause pain and lead to foot deformities, with changes in muscle, bone and the shape of the feet.

For circulation issues, the shrinking of blood vessels and the hardening of the arteries can make infection and healing harder to achieve (often called peripheral artery disease). Should an infection never heal, it can cause gangrene, when the skin and tissue around the sore dies, and often needs to be permanently removed.

So what should Diabetics do to protect and look after the health of their feet?

There’s quite a few things Diabetics should do to look after their foot health. Some helpful tips include:
• Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything.
• Wash your feet in lukewarm water. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily.
• Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting, and carefully dry between the toes.
• Cut nails carefully. Cut them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toe nails. If you have concerns about your nails, consult your doctor.
• Never treat corns or calluses yourself. No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment.
• Wear clean, dry socks. Change them daily.
• Avoid the wrong type of socks. Avoid tight elastic bands (they reduce circulation). Don’t wear thick or bulky socks (they can fit poorly and irritate the skin).
• Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing. Remember, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.
• Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.
• Never walk barefoot. Not even at home! Always wear shoes or slippers. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.
• Take care of your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
• Don’t smoke. Smoking restricts blood flow to your feet.
• Get periodic foot exams. Seeing your doctor or Podiatrist on a regular basis can help prevent the foot complications of diabetes.

At Easy Living Footwear we have a range of footwear designed to ease foot problems. We stock a range of orthotic-friendly models, and cater for problem and sensitive feet with our comfort collection. You need only tell the sales staff about your issues and they will be more than happy to help fit you properly and offer advice on the styles of shoes suitable for your condition. We often hear feedback from other customers about what works for them, so don’t be scared to ask questions!!

Click here to view our Orthotic-friendly models, which will help get you started...

We actively encourage our customers to seek medical advice or consult a local Podiatrist, for further information and help (ask our staff for the names of our stores recommended Podiatrists). If you DO have issues with your feet, it’s best to be proactive and seek help before the issues become worse. For more information on diabetes visit: http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/

All the best in foot health!
~ The Easy Living Team