Standing, walking, pushing, squeezing, scrunching, running, kicking and again standing…shifting from one to the other, crossing your leg one way, then another, shift again, supporting your weight, the weight of your babies, toddlers, supporting the weight of your older parents or grandparents as they walk, groceries, gym bags, gym weights, bags of soil, stones, buckets of water, walking the dog, rising up and down on the stirrups of your horse, riding your bike, jumping up and down in excitement at a sports event, gardening, taking the garbage out. Whether you weigh 25 pounds or 300 pounds, your feet are your body’s greatest support.
Unless we feel a protest such as an ache, blister or spasm we expect our feet to carry on without giving them much respect. We bandage over any problems and push on. We refuse to baby them. In our mind they are infallible. They take us where we need to go, that’s their job, no exception. They must work at all costs. After all, they should be more forgiving than other parts of our body such as our heart, lungs, kidneys, brain. Right?!? They are just two feet with ten toes.
Now, the other side of the coin…once in a while we decide to treat ourselves…not necessarily to reward our feet but because it helps reduce stress, forget our woes, be in a space where nothing matters and life is simple….the Spa. Today, Nail Spa’s are everywhere, just walk through the mall. At any point one can walk in and sit down to forget it all and feel good.
Once in a while, I ‘treat’ my feet to some TLC with a Pedicure. I climb into the big, soft, lounge-like chair that is accompanied by a remote. This enables me to choose a variety of luxurious massages. Trashy entertainment magazines allow my mind to go into another world and offer mindless entertainment. There is nothing better than a foot and leg massage with the final product of walking away with a pretty colour on my toes feeling like a million bucks!! Years ago, I didn’t give much thought as to where I went or who was doing my pedicures. In my naïvety I assumed wherever I went and whoever did my pedicure must know what they were doing. Thankfully I haven’t had an infection or cut.
My eyes were opened the day I had a conversation with one of my clients as a Diabetes Consultant with Novo Nordisk. She lives with Type 2 diabetes. Upon visiting her one day, I notice her foot bandaged up. She informed me she went with her daughter for a pedicure. She ended up with a major infection. Scary stuff!! She was several months healing from this. She said that she would never go for a pedicure again. The risk wasn’t worth it.
So here is the educator in me giving some advise. You knew it was coming didn’t you! LOL.
In this day and age it’s very difficult to take the time to care for ourselves, whether we live with diabetes or not. BUT, in living with diabetes, if we don’t make that time, it will catch up with us. We will be in a place where we wish we had made that time.
Here are some things to consider to save you time spent with regret:
1. Inspect your feet daily.
2. Keep your feet warm and dry.
3. If you develop a sore spot, blister, callus or cut have it looked at by your physician and treated accordingly.
4. Cut your nails straight across. Don’t cut them too short.
5. Consult a professional to buy proper fitting footwear.
6. If you have an infection, ulcer, cut, blisters or neuropathy do not have a pedicure.
7. If you are free of complications and are healthy a pedicure is okay. (It would be nice to say “don’t do it” but since many are going to anyway…good to promote guidelines around it)
1. Search out a reputable salon and ask about their sanitation practices.
2. Inspect the foot tub before putting your feet in. Ask how it has been cleaned.
3. Ask how the tools are sterilized? Are they stainless steel? Stainless steel tools are more sanitary than wood.
4. Be open with the technician. If they are serious about their profession they will respect your concern for your feet.
5. Make sure the water is not too hot.
6. Ask the technician to avoid using sharp instruments including clipping the cuticles and filing your heels and calluses.
7. Ask the technician to massage your feet gently.
8. Do not shave your legs 2 days prior. This is to prevent the chance of bacteria or fungus getting into sores, cuts or nicks on your legs from shaving.
“The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.” – Leonardo da Vinci