For optimal health and wellbeing, there are things you simply must do. Obviously, you need to eat well, get plenty of sleep, and stay physically active. These are all important for any human, but that sense of importance is heightened when a medical issue like diabetes is in the picture.
Now, it’s easy to think about other ways diabetes can affect the body—elevated risks of heart attack, strokes, and kidney failure—but small issues in the feet can become serious medical complications (including ones that necessitate limb amputations). As such, you simply must practice smart diabetic foot care, and especially if you stay active and exercise!
Diabetic foot care starts with managing your disease – something that can be achieved (in part) with exercise. Regular physical activity reduces glucose in your blood and promotes improved circulation. In turn, improved blood flow plays a role in keeping your nerves healthy, which lowers your risk of neuropathy (nerve damage).
The only problem with this is that many forms of exercise and physical activity place excessive pressure on the feet. For “normal” feet, this isn’t much of a concern. Putting diabetes in the equation, though, is a bit different. With this disease, wounds don’t heal like they normally should and minor issues like blisters and calluses can break down over time and become ulcers.
So we’ve discussed why exercise is important when you have diabetes, and also why exercise can put your feet at risk when you have diabetes – what are you supposed to do? Well, you need to stay active and take measures to protect your diabetic feet!
Some of the best ways to take care of your feet when you’re both diabetic and physically active include:
- Avoiding high-impact activities. Running and sports (like basketball and tennis) always come with a certain degree of injury risk. Instead of these kinds of activities, stick to low-impact ones like cycling, yoga, and walking. Swimming and other water exercises are especially great for diabetic individuals!
- Wearing shoes that fit properly. This is given, no matter what activities you choose to do. Your shoes need to fit well. Not sure what makes for a good pair of diabetic shoes? Come see us and we will be glad to help.
- Wearing diabetic socks. In addition to your shoes, you need to wear the right kind of socks. Pairs that are loose (or too tight) can cause problems, as can ones that have unusual seams. As with diabetic footwear, your best practice is to come see us.