Are you diabetic, or been diagnosed as pre-diabetic? You are not alone.
According to the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System, diabetes is a condition that affected just under 2.3million Canadians in 2020. Add in those with prediabetes, and that figure rises to one in three Canadians. Yet less than 50% of Canadians can identify 50% of the early warning signs of diabetes.
Of these with diabetes, up to 24% are at risk of developing a foot ulcer that will result in the amputation of a foot or leg. Indeed, Diabetes Canada states that:
“Lower extremity complications are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in people with diabetes.”
That’s quite a scary statistic to read, whether you’ve just been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, are pre-diabetic, or have lived with diabetes for years.
A lot more people may be approaching diabetes without being aware of it. Research from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes involving 27,000 adults suggests that:
“People who develop type 2 diabetes may show early warning signs of the disease more than 10 years before their diagnosis.”
How does diabetes affect my feet and legs?
Diabetes can cause nerve damage (diabetic peripheral neuropathy ) in your feet and legs. This nerve damage occurs in people who have had diabetes for a long time and who may not have managed their blood sugar levels well the past. As the Wounds Canada website explains, this neuropathy results in:
“The loss of the ability to feel the normal pain signals of an injury in the feet … It is not usually a total loss of feeling, but rather tingling or numbness.”
The result is that you are far less likely to notice minor foot injuries such as blisters, cuts, scratches, bruising, or sore spots caused by rubbing footwear. As these kind of injuries can quickly become infected, this can lead to more serious complications if not treated in time.
Diabetics also can suffer from poor blood flow and /or circulation (peripheral arterial disease) in their feet and legs. This is a result of changes in their blood vessels due to the diabetes. Again, as Wounds Canada explains:
“Without good blood flow, wounds can take a long time to heal and may even stop healing altogether, both of which can lead to very serious health problems.”
The same applies to foot conditions such as:
- Ingrown toenails
In short, if you have diabetes, you need to look after your feet!
Expert footcare to help you
If you notice such injuries early on, they can usually be treated at a specialist foot clinic such as the team at Hunt Footcare. You don’t always have to go to your doctor As Diabetes Canada says:”Do not try to treat them yourself.” Call to make an appointment at any of our local feet clinics with one of our foot care specialists;
- Stratford foot clinic
- Ingersoll footcare clinic
- London footcare clinic
Taking care of your feet
Diabetes Canada suggest this simple 5-point daily plan to monitor and help keep your feet healthy:
– Examine your feet and legs daily
– Care for your nails regularly
– Apply moisturizing lotion if your feet are dry (but not between the toes)
– Wear properly fitting footwear (with minimal seams)
– Test your bath water with your hand before you step in, to make sure the water is not too hot
How hot are your feet?
You might like to check the temperature of your feet too, as the MyHealth.Alberta website suggests:
“Feel for differences in the temperature of your feet. Check to see if some areas are warmer or cooler than other areas. A change in temperature may alert you to early signs of inflammation or infection. To help check for this you can use a personal infrared thermometer.“
Free Daily Foot Exam Worksheet
Wounds Canada have produced a great downloadable Daily Foot Exam Worksheet to help you monitor your feet – you’ll find it on page 3 of this PDF.
Expert help with diabetic foot care
Struggling with managing your condition and foot care as well? Our experienced diabetes foot clinic staff can help with:
- Preventative foot care maintenance
- Treatment for skin lesions
- Careful dressing and treatment of the skin
- Ulcers and wound management
- Off-loading devices such as custom orthotics
- Specialist socks and hosiery
Contact your local foot care clinic today
Call us to make an appointment at one of our three local foot clinics in Ontario.
Stratford foot clinic
Ingersoll footcare clinic
London footcare clinic