Why Is Foot Care Important for People With Diabetes?
How Can Diabetes Affect Your Feet?
- Loss of sensation (Neuropathy)
Diabetes can cause nerve damage that reduces sensation in your feet. With a diminished ability to feel pressure, pain, or changes in temperature you may not notice if your feet or toenails become injured.
- Foot Infection
Benign foot injuries often become infected. Diabetes can cause decreased blood flow in your feet, which prolongs healing time and impairs your body’s ability to effectively fight off infection in the area. Combined with a reduced ability to feel pain and detect an injury, poor circulation can lead a cut or scratch to become further inflamed or infected, even without you noticing.
- Foot Ulcers
Because wounds heal slower (and progress faster), a common foot condition like a blister or cut can quickly turn into an ulcer. An ulcer is an open sore that is slow to heal and may reoccur. Ulcers are particularly common in people with diabetes due to high blood sugar levels impairing blood flow to the area and compromising the body’s immune system: it is estimated that up to a quarter of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer.
- Musculoskeletal Dysfunction
Nerve damage can also effect the ability of your foot muscles to work properly, which can disturb normal gait. If there is too much concentrated pressure in one area of the foot you may develop blisters, calluses, or corns.
Tissue in your body can die if it doesn’t get enough oxygen. If peripheral vascular disease severely reduces blood flow to your feet, they won’t receive enough oxygen-rich blood and irreversible damages may follow. Gangrene is a medical emergency.
If an infection cannot be contained and spreads to the bone, the foot or leg may need to be amputated.
- Skin change, i.e., a new callus, blister, or ingrown toenail
- Colour change
- Temperature change
- Tingling or burning
- An open or infected sore
What Can Cause Diabetic Foot Complications?
Certain risk factors may increase your chances of diabetic foot complications:
- Poor blood glucose control
- Poor hygiene
- Receiving nail care from nail salons that do not use sterilized instruments
- Foot injury
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes -ie shoes that are too tight
- Lack of awareness or failure or seek diabetic foot education from a licensed chiropodist
How Do I Treat Diabetic Foot Complications?
Treatment for pain and complications resulting from diabetes may include:
- Diabetic foot assessment
- Nail care and callus care
- Prescribed medication if indicated
- Advise on proper footwear and custom foot insoles
- Measuring for and dispending medical grade compression stockings
- Orthopedic footwear
- Wound care including wound debridement and application of proper dressings to facilitate healing and manage or prevent infection
- Diabetic foot education
How Do I Prevent Complications?
- Annual or semi-annual foot assessment by a foot care specialist that includes a thorough examination that checks for and treats:
- Wash (not soak) your feet daily with warm, soapy water
- Dry your feet thoroughly after bathing or taking a shower – do not forget in between the toes
- Check your feet daily for injuries
- Moisturize your feet if they become dry to prevent cracking
- Trim your toenails once per month – if you cannot safely trim your nails, schedule a diabetes nail care appointment with one of our practitioners
- Wear compression socks to help improve circulation in the feet and lower legs
- Wear closed-toe orthopaedic shoes with a roomy toe-box, flexible fabric upper, and soft breathable lining to minimize rubbing and pressure that can lead to blisters, calluses, and corns
- Avoid wearing sandals or walking barefoot
- Wearing moisture-wicking socks to control sweat levels that might exacerbate athlete’s foot or blister-causing friction
- Wearing white socks makes it easier to notice blood or other signs of broken skin
Diabetic care products including orthopedic shoes, compression stockings, medical creams, and foot care tools are available in our Toronto foot clinic.
To schedule best foot care treatment appointment with our licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists), use the booking form below or call 416-769-FEET(3338).
Our Toronto foot clinic is open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm, Saturdays 10am-4pm. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our Foot clinic.
Book an appointment for diabetes
You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or contact the clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).