Diabetes is one of the most common global chronic diseases, with over nine million people suffering from the ailment in Canada alone. Here at Island Foot Clinics, we have first-hand experience with the many issues that can arise from diabetic foot problems. That’s why we offer everything from wound care to X-rays for our patients. For the convenience of our valuable clients, we have expanded our services to the Vancouver areas as well.
Maintaining Healthy Feet Despite Diabetic Foot Problems
This can be a unique challenge as diabetes can make the foot more prone to injury, can significantly slow down healing times, and can also make it harder to tell whether you’ve sustained an injury or not. It’s important for those suffering from diabetes to get into the habit of regularly monitoring the condition of their feet. They should look out specifically for small blisters or wounds from socks or shoes, bruises, punctures, redness, ulcers, and even toenail abnormalities.
Diabetic neuropathy is a condition that affects up to 70% of those suffering from diabetes, and this condition causes nervous system damage. This means that wounds can form on the feet without you knowing or being able to feel them. Additionally, diabetes causes a significant decrease in blood flow which makes injuries take longer to heal. Longer recovery times can mean higher infection risks, and even the smallest infections can spread quickly in those who have diabetes.
What To Do
Washing and examining your feet daily is imperative to managing diabetic foot problems. Watching regularly for sores or signs of infection will allow you to catch things early enough to avoid developing serious conditions. Wearing shoes that offer ample support, especially when paired with thick socks, can help prevent blisters from forming and will help protect your feet from the elements and extreme temperatures. Develop a healthy lifestyle that helps you lose weight, stay active, and cease habits like smoking.
When trimming their toenails, many people try to follow the natural curve of their toes with the clippers. This is a common mistake and is actually a huge contributing factor to the development of ingrown toenails. Ingrown nails are best avoided by regularly trimming your toenails straight across rather than at a curve. Scheduling regular appointments with us at one of our locations such as Vancouver BC will let us help you get ahead of the pain.
Blood Flow Is a Top Priority
Lack of proper blood flow can lead to clots or other serious conditions, and diabetes can increase the risk of clot formation. That’s why it’s doubly important for those with diabetes to make efforts to keep their feet elevated as often as possible. Many people spend elongated periods of time in front of screens, such as sitting at a desk in front of a computer. Sitting for long periods of time is a major contributing factor to blood clots.
If you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods, consider rearranging your sitting area to accommodate a small stool for keeping your feet elevated. Make it part of your work routine to get up from your desk and walk, or perform movement exercises such as rolling your ankles in a circle or stretching your toes. Make attempts to cease the common bad habit of sitting with your legs crossed, as this can cut off blood flow.
The Importance of Proper Shoes
It makes sense that wearing the right shoes that fit properly and provide ample support makes a big difference in the successful management of diabetic foot pain. It’s a good idea to stick to closed-toed shoes such as sneakers rather than sandals. Not only do sneakers offer much more support than flip-flops, but your foot is also better protected. It’s highly advised not to go anywhere barefoot besides inside your own home.
Making sure your shoes fit properly is crucial as well, because ill-fitting shoes can cause blisters and other serious foot wounds. We highly recommend shoes made of either leather or canvas to our diabetic patients, as these materials are more malleable to the unique shape of the foot.
Tips for Finding Shoes That Fit
It’s a good idea to try both shoes and walk around to get acquainted, and the shoes should be comfortable right away without needing to be broken in. Our feet are rarely the exact same size, so you should always purchase with the larger foot in mind. Measure your feet while you’re standing rather than sitting, and try to schedule your shoe-shopping trip for later in the day while the foot is typically at its most swollen.
When trying on a new pair of shoes for the first time, you want to look at how the shoe fits on the back, front, and sides of your foot. The widest portion of the shoe should align with the widest portion of your foot. Make sure you bring along a pair of the type of socks you expect to wear with the new shoes. Always try before you buy, and don’t rely on the size of your last pair.
What NOT To Do
Make sure you’re always wearing supportive footwear with protection and try to avoid going barefoot whenever you can. You should also avoid wearing clothing that constricts the legs or shoes with pointed toes. Habits like excessive smoking and alcohol consumption can contribute to blood flow issues and can exacerbate any pre-existing conditions you may have or are prone to.
The Most Common Diabetic Foot Problems in Vancouver BC
Peripheral vascular disease is a condition that causes the sufferer to have poor circulation and blood flow in their appendages. This lackluster blood flow means that even superficial injuries will take longer to heal and are more likely to develop into infections. Sometimes those with diabetes notice discoloration in their toenails. This can be a fungal infection, especially if the nails appear yellow or brown.
Diabetic ulcers are typically characterized by deep sores or breaks in the skin. These ulcers form from minor scrapes that can’t heal quickly enough and become infected. Those with diabetic foot issues also commonly deal with dry skin, and while this can seem like a mild problem, the cracks caused by dry skin can provide openings for germs to enter the body.
When It’s Time To Visit Our Vancouver Clinic Locations
If you’re checking your feet daily and following our care advice, you’ll be sure to catch any developing conditions early enough to avoid serious consequences. If you are inspecting your feet and discover any redness, warmth, swelling, pain, or any other signs of possible infection, it’s time for a professional opinion.
Many people who notice the formation of calluses, corns, or warts are tempted to remove them at home, but this is unsafe and we advise scheduling an appointment right away. Visit us as soon as possible here at Island Foot Clinics, if you’re ready to begin on the path to managing your diabetic foot problems. We are excited to announce that we’ve increased our practice locations to reach more patients and improve more lives than ever before. We have clinics in Vancouver, White Rock, Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford as well as Victoria, Nanaimo, Prince George, Terrace and more!