OUTREACH & ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month (NDAM). Please take some time to check out our T1D topics. We encourage you to share this information on your social media to help educate and raise awareness about Type 1 Diabetes.
PUT YOUR 'BEST' FOOT FORWARD!
Sometimes the last thing you think about when it comes to your health is your feet, but for people with Type 1 Diabetes, foot health is particularly important. T1D can cause nerve damage and lost sensation, making it less likely that cuts or blisters on the feet are easily recognized. Because blood circulation is also affected, wounds tend to take longer to heal and are more prone to infection if not treated with care and attention.
When you're taking care of yourself, don't forget your feet! Develop a daily foot care routine and build a solid toolkit to support your efforts to help keep your feet healthy. Your toolkit should include good quality nail clippers, a nail file, and some lotion - at the very least. Keep these things together in their own container and have them close by to make establishing your foot care habit easier.
A thorough foot care routine would include:
Washing your feet in warm water, using a mild soap. Try not to soak your feet for too long, as soaking tends to dry out your skin. Make sure you dry your feet well - especially between toes.
Give your feet a good 'once over', keeping an eye out for cuts, cracks, ingrown toenails, blisters, etc. You may want to add a small hand mirror or compact to your toolkit to help you check the bottom of your feet, or ask a friend or loved one to help you.
Keep any cuts or scratches clean, dry and protected. Be sure to watch these areas closely to prevent more serious problems developing from an unattended infection.
Trim your toenails straight across without cutting too short and file any sharp edges.
Moisturize your entire foot - both of them - from heel to toe, avoiding the in-between spots, and wipe off any excess that doesn't soak in. Moisture between toes can promote infection.
Put on a clean pair of socks daily and make sure your shoes fit right. Don't wear shoes that rub or pinch. If you suffer from DPN (diabetic peripheral neuropathy), wearing white socks can help you detect problem areas, as blood or drainage from sores will be easier to see.
Other strategies to keep your feet healthy include elevating your feet when you're sitting. Wiggling your toes and ankles around several times a day helps to improve blood flow. Regular exercise also increases circulation. Smoking, on the other hand, decreases your body's circulation and healing ability, significantly increasing the risk of amputation. Stay away from over-the-counter medications to treat foot problems like corns, calluses, and warts. Always protect your feet. Walking around outdoors with bare feet does well to connect you with nature, but can come with dangerous consequences for people with Type 1 Diabetes.
You may want to consider adding a foot care specialist to your T1D team. Other than your regular endocrinologist, diabetes educators, doctors and nurses, some health care professionals that have expertise in foot care include:
Chiropodists or Podiatrists: specialize in treating foot diseases, disorders and dysfunctions
Orthotists/Prosthetists: specialize in orthotic and prosthetic devices
Pedorthists: specialize in orthotics, footwear and footwear modifications
Click HERE for a list of signs to look out for. Being able to identify signs of foot problems can go a long way in preventing complications. It's a good plan to have your health care professional check your feet AT LEAST one to two times per year. Prevention is always the best medicine.
CONTRIBUTING SOURCE: Diabetes Canada
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Past NDAM postings:
T1D Stickers and Accessories | Driving with T1D | Pump Lingo | Dawn Phenomenon | Blood Sugar Management Get Diabetes Right | Foot Care | Sleep: the lost frontier | Glycemic Index | Medication Management