National I Love My Feet Day: 6 tips for happier feet

August 17th is National I Love My Feet Day and it’s a great time to pay some attention to this incredibly crafted, highly important, super detailed body part.

If you have type 2, taking special care of your feet should be part of your daily routine. Even if you don’t feel pain or have concerns, checking your feet daily and talking with your doctor if you have any wounds or injuries in your feet is important. 

Let’s look at why you should check your feet and what you can do every day to have healthy feet. 

How does type 2 impact my feet? 

Having diabetes means you’re at much greater risk of developing foot problems. This is because raised blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, can damage the sensation in your feet. It can also affect your circulation, which can lead to you getting less blood supply to your feet. Without a good blood supply you may have problems with cuts and sores healing. You may also get cramps and pain in your legs or feet. If you don’t get these problems treated, they could lead to foot ulcers, infections and, at worst, amputations. Most foot problems can be prevented with good, regular foot care.

6 Tips for Healthy Feet:

1. Get Good Shoes - It sounds like an obvious point but make sure you are buying shoes the correct size. Don’t buy shoes thinking they will stretch out or simply based on a number. Buy shoes that fit you currently and try them on first. Check the space at the end of the shoe. Stand up and make sure there is 1/2" (about the width of your finger) between your longest toe (usually the second toe) and the end of the shoe.  When your shoes aren’t fitting well anymore or have visible signs of wear and tear / distress don’t be afraid to rehome them or throw them away. Wearing old shoes can damage your feet and cause you unnecessary discomfort. Anyways, life is too short to wear old shoes!

2. Get Good Socks - There are many things to consider when choosing the right socks for your special feet. Overall, you should cover your feet with a clean sock or stocking without rough seams while avoiding socks or stockings that are too tight. Wearing moisture wicking socks keeps your feet safe, comfortable, cool and dry. Before putting your shoes on, check for sharp objects (i.e. small rocks) and use it as a time to check in with your foot health. Take a quick survey of how they look and feel as you put on and take off your footwear each day.

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight - Being overweight makes life more difficult and leads to a host of health problems. It can also contribute to health problems with your feet specifically. Excess weight puts more strain on your feet making swollen feet, heel pain, arthritis, or other foot ailments more painful. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular physical activity and a healthy diet will alleviate some of the pressure on your feet and improve your overall health.

4. Walking for healthy feet - “Exercising your feet on a regular basis not only improves overall foot health, but may also reduce your risk for injury. Walking is the best overall foot exercise. When you walk, you put your foot through its full range of motion, from the time your heel hits the ground until you lift off with your toes”, says Harvard Health. They encourage not only walking but also strength and flexibility exercises for your healthiest feet.

5. Grooming - wash, dry and check your feet every day. Check for redness, swelling, cuts, pus discharge, splinters or blisters, being especially careful to look between toes, around heels and nail edges and at the soles of the feet. If you have difficulty with your vision, get someone to check for you. If you can’t reach your toenails or cuticles to maintain them, have someone do it for you. When you cut your toenails, cut them straight across, not into the corners, and gently file any sharp edges. Moisturise your feet daily to avoid dry skin but not between your toes, keep the area between your toes clean and dry.

6. Go to your doctor - Regular check ups help you avoid potential problems and unnecessary discomfort. Discuss potential issues before they arise and seek more information about how to care for your feet from a podiatrist or Credentialled Diabetes Educator. Have your feet checked at least once a year by your doctor or other health professional. 

Overall, take care of your feet because they take care of you! We rely on them every day and often take them for granted - time to give them a little TLC. For support and lifestyle tips including more information on living a healthy lifestyle with type 2 diabetes, join our online community. Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together is a supportive community for everyone suffering from high or erratic glucose levels, with an emphasis on type 2 diabetes. It’s the best place to find support, knowledge, lifestyle tips and recipes; whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been coping with the condition for years.