Diabetes & Your Feet – Emma Benfield AEP

Did you know…… Every day, 280 Australians develop diabetes? That is equal to one person every five minutes! Have you ever wondered how a diabetes diagnosis could be connected to your feet? Here is what you need to know about your feet and diabetes – and why it is so important to look after your foot health.

How does diabetes affect feet?

Having diabetes increases your risk of developing diabetes related complications in your feet, including nerve damage called ‘Peripheral Neuropathy’ or poor circulation called ‘Peripheral Vascular Disease’. Nerve damage affects how you feel pressure or pain and may lead to numbness in your toes or feet, whereas poor circulation may delay your body’s ability to heal cuts or sores, increasing your risk of developing ulcers. It is important to pay attention to any changes in your feet if you have diabetes as often our feet are the first place to show diabetic related symptoms.

How can you look after your feet?

To prevent future foot problems, try and keep your blood glucose levels between your target range, keep physically active and avoid smoking. Have your feet assessed yearly by a podiatrist or your GP, maintain good foot health at home by checking them for changes, washing and moisturising them daily and trimming your toenails regualry.

What exercise is best?

Regular exercise is an important part of diabetes management. Exercises which are minimal weight bearing such as riding an exercise bike, hydrotherapy, swimming, and Tai Chi are ideal for foot health.

A combination of aerobic and resistance exercise is most beneficial for diabetes management. Moderate intensity exercise is recommended to achieve the greatest benefits possible. For people with diabetes, it is recommended that they work up to 210minutes of aerobic exercise per week over three days of the week. For resistance training it is recommended to complete 60minutes per week for 2 or more days, performing 8-10 Reps each set.