Living with Diabetes
Putting your best foot forward?
By Kylie McKenzie
Diabetes Canada estimates that better diabetic care and prevention measures could save between $48-75 million a year in health care costs for Ontario alone, based on a 2016 report. Another finding in the report: There is one amputation every four hours in Ontario as a result of a diabetic foot ulcer.
For those at risk, adopting a steady foot care regime will help keep your feet healthy. Here’s what you need to do:
Have a foot care kit handy — containing nail clippers, a nail file, hand mirror and lotion to help you follow a specific routine each day. Wash your feet in warm water with a mild soap and dry your feet, especially between your toes. Check your feet to make sure there are no cuts, cracks, ingrown toenails, or blisters. Use a hand mirror to see the bottom surfaces. Clean cuts or scratches with mild soap and water, and cover with a dry dressing. Make sure to trim your toenails and file any sharp edges. A good lotion goes a long way apply foot cream to your heels and soles but avoid application between your toes to avoid infection. Remember to wear well fitting shoes and white socks, which make cuts and sores easier to spot.
Wear shoes that are supportive, have low heels and do not rub or pinch. Try buying shoes in the late afternoon — this is when your feet tend to swell slightly. Elevate your feet when you are sitting, and wear a pair of socks on cold nights. In addition to regular exercise, wiggle your toes and move your ankles for a few minutes several times a day to improve blood flow. Don’t forget to inspect your feet daily and feel for skin temperature differences between your feet.
What to avoid
Don’t use over-the-counter medications to treat corns and warts, avoid wearing tight socks or knee-highs and never go barefoot, even indoors. Don’t place hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet, and avoid sitting or crossing your legs for long periods of time. Try and quit smoking: It decreases circulation and healing, plus significantly increases the risks of amputation. Despite what you may have heard, over-the-counter insoles are not recommended. They can cause blisters if they are not right for your feet.