One thing that’s drilled into us constantly from the moment we’re diagnosed with Diabetes is to take care of our feet. Despite this, there are many people who, although know WHY it’s important, aren’t really sure WHAT it is they need to be checking their feet for and even HOW to take care of their feet.
So WHY is it important for Diabetics to take care of their feet?
People with Diabetes are at a high risk of developing complications with their feet. Why? Because long term or poorly controlled Diabetes can cause many problems including nerve damage (neuropathy) and damage to blood vessels, leading to other problems such as cramping, cold feet, wounds/sores and foot pain. Foot damage may mean you don’t notice little cuts or sores as they appear, which may then become infected. Worst case scenario, foot problems can also lead to amputations. According to the Independent Diabetes Trust (IDDT), around 130 amputations are carried out per week in the UK, and of these, 80% could have been preventable.
WHAT exactly should Diabetics be checking their feet for?
As a Diabetic, you should be checking your feet daily, and at least annually by a Foot Care Health Professional. Checks should be made for any swelling, any redness or a change in skin colour, pain, cuts, blisters, ulcers, any fluid appearing from wounds, any build up from hard skin and changes to your foot shape. You should also be keeping an eye on your toenails. Your Foot Care Professional will also check your foot sensations to ensure there’s no numbness and give advice on correct foot wear. The areas you should be paying attention to include the balls of the feet, areas where shoes and socks can rub and areas where any bones can stick out.
HOW should Diabetics take care of their feet?
- Check them daily
- Wash them daily in warm, not hot, water. Check the temperature first with your hand, elbow or a thermometer, as your feet may not correctly feel the heat if there’s damage, and you don’t want to scald them.
- Use a mild soap and avoid soaking your feet for too long as when they are soggy, they are easier to damage.
- Dry your feet thoroughly, and pay attention to the area in between the toes. This will prevent conditions such as athlete’s foot.
- Use a moisturiser underneath and on the tops of your feet to keep your skin soft. Again, don’t moisturise in between your toes, these should stay dry. You can use talc if needed, but avoid using too much as the area can become clogged, again leading to a possible infection.
- Cut toenails straight across, following the natural shape of your toenail. Resist the urge to cut down the sides.
- Choose shoes that support and protect your foot. I’m always getting a telling off in the summer for wearing flip flops! Avoid going barefoot, wear socks or slippers at all times. Also, check your shoes before putting them on to ensure there’s no sharp object inside, such as stones.
- If you do notice any problems, seek advice quickly from your health care team.
You can find more in-depth foot care advice here.
I was offered the chance recently to review The Chambers & Co Carrot Tissue Balm for Active Feet. My feet have been through the mill this year, so I was glad of the opportunity. Diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in March, an inflammation in your foot’s tissue which causes pain in the heel, in my case most likely due to wearing unsupportive footwear at the gym (tut tut… I know, I know!), and more recently, dry and rough skin caused by the colder weather. Promising to restore, soften and moisturise dry and cracked feet, it sounded like just the product I needed.
Chambers & Co are a family run business, who create natural leather care and skin care products. Their journey began in 2005, when their toddler son was diagnosed with certain food intolerances and additives. They began looking into the ingredients contained in food and skin care products, and started to use only natural products. Later, their daughter developed contact dermatitis from the liquid soaps used in schools, which contains, like many other household products, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). This inspired them to create their own SLS-free liquid soap and a cream to use on the dry skin on her hands, which is currently being tested for public use.
I can imagine exactly how they felt going through this with their daughter. My 4 year old daughter Cici suffers with terrible eczema, more so during the summer months, and from the age of 2-3 years of age, her skin was constantly red raw and bleeding from all the frantic scratching. I spent every day in tears trying unsuccessfully to soothe her. I made changes to her diet, her bathing routine, spent a bomb on various skincare products, and opted for natural clothes washing products. Nothing worked. Her skin finally settled again just before her third birthday, only flaring up again during the summer months, helping me to identify heat as being the cause.
The Chambers also make leather goods, including theatre masks, wallets and bags. They work with registered chemists on every single product to ensure they meet EU standards.
The Carrot Tissue Foot Balm contains:
- Carrot Tissue Oil, which is apparently rich in B-Carotene, a pigment found in plants, fruit and colourful vegetables such as carrots. B-Carotene encourages skin to repair itself and grow new tissue, and also improves the skin’s barrier
- Hemp Seed Oil, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties
- Avocado Butter, to nourish, soften and smooth the skin
The packaging contains all the relevant ‘need to know’ info, including ingredients list and directions for use. Opening up the pot, the balm is an interesting orangey yellow colour. Massaging it into my feet after a shower, they felt very oily so I put on a pair of socks. It didn’t take long for the balm to sink into my skin, and by the time I took my socks off to jump into bed, my feet felt very soft and smooth, exactly as described on the tin. Since using the balm, my feet aren’t as dry as they were before, and look a lot more pleasant. If anyone is looking for a nice soothing foot cream, I’d recommend this product any day. Costing £8, it can be ordered online from their website.
Have you tried any Chambers & Co products yourself? What did you think? Let me know in the comments section below!
Disclaimer: The Chambers & Co Carrot Tissue Foot Balm is a PR sample sent to me to review, however the opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own!