According to Diabetes Ireland, “people with diabetes have special reason to take good care of their feet. Long-term high blood glucose levels may make feet susceptible to injury and infection. This is because the protective sensation in the toes or feet – the “pain alarm system” may slowly disappear with long-term high blood glucose levels”.
Peripheral Neuropathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes. It is estimated that up to 70%
of diabetics will develop peripheral neuropathy. Though studies have shown that diabetes sufferers who keep their blood sugar levels within the normal range have a smaller chance of damaging their nerves.
With diabetes, the neuropathy is caused by chronically high blood sugar levels. It leads to numbness, loss of sensation, and sometimes pain in the feet, legs, or hands. This can cause serious problems – the damaged nerves may not convey messages of pain to the brain so a person could, for example, develop an ulcer on his or her foot due to an ill-fitting shoe, and not be aware of it. The ulcer could become infected before it is noticed.
Massage therapists and reflexologists have a very important role to play in prevention and early intervention for their diabetic clients. For diabetics, where particular attention needs to be paid to the feet, you can give a valuable service by inspecting them for any changes – cold or dark spots, bruises, redness, cracks, any little cuts or grazes that could develop into sores and become infected.
The benefits of massage therapy for diabetics can range from:
Lowering and maintaining blood sugar levels
Improving blood circulation
Stimulating the lymph system which removes toxins
Reducing stress, which in turn lowers blood sugar levels
Reducing the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy (pins & needles sensation)
Self-care is an essential element for diabetics, or at the very least, having a family member or care-giver check feet on a daily basis. This is particularly important for long-term diabetics.
Some suggestions for diabetic foot care
Always wear well-fitted shoes
Socks should be seamless
Have a daily foot care routine (inspecting the sole of the foot with a mirror if necessary)
Check for cuts, grazes, bruises, cracked skin
Shower or bathe feet daily (water not too hot)
Do not soak for long (soaking can remove vital skin oils)
Dry well and apply a moisturizing foot cream (but not between toes)
For diabetics, Pure Pro’s Peppermint Pedango Foot Cream is the perfect medium to finish off their daily foot care routine. The ingredients are all natural, with essential oils of Peppermint, organic Lemongrass, Eucalyptus and, of course, Tea Tree with it’s antiseptic and anti-fungal qualities. It also contains a small amount of hand-pressed Arnica extract which flushes out toxins and improves blood circulation in the feet – especially important for diabetics – as I’m sure you have gathered by now!