It’s not an exaggeration to say that a passion for helping people with foot problems runs in my blood. My grandfather was a custom shoe and logging boot manufacturer in British Columbia and my father was a podiatrist who specialized in the care of diabetic feet. Today both my brother and I are Canadian Certified Pedorthists.
I am fascinated by all elements of foot care, but I have a particular interest in diabetes-related foot problems, which stems from my father. He sometimes shared with me about the problems faced by his patients and his passion for helping them. When I became a Pedorthist I began to see the same problems so I decided to become more knowledgeable about diabetic foot care and committed to making a difference.
Today, an estimated 3 million Canadians live with diabetes and 85 per cent of all leg amputations (for Canadians living with diabetes) are a result of non-healing foot ulcers – more than half of which may have been prevented with more effective nail and foot care, and wearing appropriate footwear. Here are the tips I give my patients who are living with diabetes to help prevent the onset of serious injuries:
- Strive for excellent blood sugar control. The better controlled your diabetes is, the fewer diabetic complications you will have including foot-related ones.
- Examine your bare feet every day for redness, abrasions or any change in their appearance.
- Wear moisture wicking socks and professionally fitted, supportive shoes.
- Invest in supportive slippers or sandals and wear them indoors at all times. Never go barefoot or wear just socks at home.
- Regular pedorthic foot care dramatically reduces the onset of serious foot problems. Pedorthists can help reduce callouses (which can develop into ulcers) and can provide orthotics, socks and shoes to keep your feet healthy & protected.
These precautions are simple but I never fail to be amazed by how often they are ignored and the injuries that can result.
Many Pedorthists, like myself, specialize in helping people living with diabetes. If you are living with diabetes and are not currently experiencing any foot problems, you should visit a Pedorthist once a year. If you have a history of foot complications but are currently stable then you should see a Pedorthist twice a year. However, if you have a foot ulcer or other foot problems, you will need to schedule more regular appointments with your Pedorthist.
By Martha Paris, C. Ped (C), Vancouver, BC