Foot Care and Exercise With Diabetes
Exercise is at the top of the to-do list for managing diabetes. But while staying active is important, so is paying attention to your feet, as diabetes complications can make your feet more susceptible to injury.
Diabetes requires extra foot care because the condition affects your blood flow and your nerves, explains foot health expert Robert Thompson, a certified pedorthist and executive director of the Institute for Preventive Foot Health in Birmingham, Ala. “Many people understand that diabetes can affect their hearts, but they don’t understand why their feet — the farthest point from the heart — are involved,” he says.
For about 40 percent of people with diabetes, complications will include peripheral diabetic neuropathy, nerve damage that affects the feet. With neuropathy, you might not feel when you develop a sore, blister, or even burn. To complicate matters, diabetes complications also include reduced blood flow, which means your body can’t heal as easily as someone without diabetes. That sets up a dangerous situation in which a tiny cut or irritation can lead to infection and even amputation.
How Exercise Can Affect Foot Care
Exercise that involves being upright and putting pressure on your feet, called weight-bearing exercise, can increase the chance of injury to your feet.
“Walking counts as a weight-bearing activity because you have the weight of the body on the soles of the feet,” explains Sheri Colberg-Ochs, PhD, a professor of exercise science in the human movement studies department at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and the co-autho Continue reading