A few weeks ago I wrote a rather punny post about Happy Feet and how to prevent some of the common diabetes-related foot complications. Since it’s still Foot Health Awareness Month and the weather is continuing to get warmer (which makes my toes wiggle), I wanted to add a few words about pretty feet. Yes, pretty feet.
My sister once sent me a card that read, “Happy girls are the prettiest girls.” I’d like to change that to “Healthy feet are the prettiest feet.” Because, let’s face it, foot complications aren’t too pretty. So when it comes to wanting your feet to be both healthy and pretty, what do you need to look out for?
Boots (and shoes) Are Made for Walkin’
When I was a teenager, I spent several ballet-filled years in toe shoes. I thought those were painful, but they still didn’t prepare me for many of the stiletto heels and strappy sandals that are popular among women today. I don’t understand these shoes at all – are they supposed to be shoes you can walk in, or are they cunning little torture devices? I’ve made the mistake myself – I’ll try them on in the store and they seem comfy, wear them for 30 minutes and suddenly I can’t stand the way they suddenly squish/rub/pinch my feet.
Now, I’m not saying that all beautiful shoes are uncomfortable shoes. That’s the great thing – they’re not! There is such a thing as a comfortable and stylish shoe!
Theresa Garnero, APRN, BC-ADM, MSN, CDE, author of Your First Year With Diabetes provides the following tips for the next time you’re at the shoe store:
- Support (you shouldn’t be able to fold the shoe in two or wring it out like a towel!)
- Cushion (you shouldn’t feel the earth move under your feet)
- Seamless across the toes (to prevent blisters)
- Space to wiggle your toes (wiggle them, but don’t cross them over one another)
Be picky when you’re buying shoes – your feet deserve it! Be extra careful if you have neuropathy (nerve damage) in your feet as you might not feel the discomfort of an ill-fitting shoe. No matter what, check your feet regularly – especially when you’re breaking in a new pair of shoes!
There is a lot of debate about whether or not people with diabetes should get pedicures. While many people value the relaxation factor of getting a pedicure, there are some serious safety concerns to consider before you book an appointment for your twinkle toes.
Here are some tips from a Diabetes Forecast article:
- Know When to Skip It: If you have an infection, ulcer, cut or neuropathy, don’t book an appointment. In the long-run, the pampering effect of a pedicure won’t be worth an infection, burn or cut on your feet.
- Plan Ahead: As strange as this may sound, you shouldn’t shave your legs two days before your scheduled pedicure. Freshly shaven legs may lead to irritated skin and might allow bacteria to enter any tiny nicks or cuts.
- Stake Out the Salon: Look into the salon’s sanitation practices, training of technicians (yup, make sure they’re licensed) and how the tools are cleaned. Don’t be afraid to ask!
- Examine the Foot Bath: Not only do you want to make sure the technicians clean the basin between each client, you might also want to ask the type of basin used. Sometimes bacteria can get in the water from the pipes, so ask if the basins are “pipeless” or are cleaned individually.
- Inspect the Tools: Find out how the pedicurist’s tools are sanitized. They should be cleaned between each use – not just dipped in sanitizing solution. Ask if the salon uses an autoclave (a hot, pressurized chamber used for cleaning medical instruments) and make sure the package of tools hasn’t been opened before you got there.
- Give Instructions: Always be sure to tell the technician that you have diabetes. If you have neuropathy, remind them that the water can’t be too hot. You can also remind them not to clip your cuticles or file your heels or calluses. Never let them use a credo blade (which looks like a razor) – that tool is actually illegal in many states!
- Use Your Judgment: All of this might sound extreme, but it’s better than getting an infection instead of a relaxing treat. If you suspect a salon isn’t practicing safe sanitation, you’re not going to relax, so leave instead. Remember – healthy feet are the prettiest feet!