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I have diabetes…can I do pedicures?

Leana Huntley is an English trained foot health practitioner attached to ALMAWI Limited – The Holistic Clinic. E-mail your questions / concerns / comments to lhuntley@almawiclinic.com; or contact her at 662-1732 Tuesday - Saturday. Check for the Clinic at www.almawiclinic.com.

By Foot Health with Leana

The difference between giving a pedicure to a regular person versus a diabetic is that a diabetic may have neuropathy/circulatory problems which may result in a loss of sensation to the feet, or highly sensitive skin. Plus, because of the circulation problems, sometimes the skin of a diabetic's feet can be dry and flaky. A pedicure can be relaxing and beneficial in helping a diabetic maintain healthy feet. But many diabetics are afraid of having a pedicure, knowing that a simple cut can lead to a serious infection.

Diabetes and pedicures:

Do they go together?

Whether you feel you have nice feet or not, your feet are an important part of your life. As the saying goes, your feet are your foundation. As you know, if the foundation cracks or collapses, the whole building is in trouble.

When you have diabetes, any injury to your feet is a major concern. An injury is an open invitation for an infection. An infection can lead to higher blood sugar, and higher blood sugar can interfere with the healing process. This means you need to take good care of your feet and avoid injury; injuries in the case of pedicures come in the form of small cuts, "nicks" from implements used.

 

Reducing Risks

The first thing to understand when it comes to diabetics is that any pedicure risks that are present for people with normal health are multiplied for diabetics. This is true because of the diabetic's sometimes poor ability to recover from injury. But having said that, having a pedicure is also very important for diabetics as dry and scaly skin can often be a starting point of health complications.

Patients with controlled diabetes can enjoy pedicures without much more risk than non-diabetic persons. It is also highly advisable to seek a pedicurist who knows about diabetics and how pedicure procedures should be carried out on them.

The odd thing is that for most diabetics, pedicure treatments (when done properly) are also beneficial. This is because of a diabetic's susceptibility to dry skin, and generally having thinner skins as compared to people with normal health. This means that even the slightest drying of the skin could cause the skin to crack, exposing the feet to micro-organisms which are very dangerous to diabetics. This can sometimes lead to gangrene and even amputation of the toes or limb.

When performing a pedicure treatment on diabetics, there are two very important things to remember. Firstly, that everything that touches the client must be thoroughly clean, making sure that all tools are disinfected properly prior to the service. Secondly, you must also remember the diabetic's compromised ability to heal and have thinner skin. It means that any treatment must be undertaken with extra attention to prevent the skin from being broken.

In the unfortunate situation that the skin is broken, the wound must be thoroughly cleaned immediately, and as far as possible, exposed to a minimal amount of outside pathogens.

Important things to note

If you are diabetic, you need to ensure that no callus trimmers, grater files or hard pumice stones are used. Soaking your feet in a foot spa or bucket with epsom salts or soap is hardly a pedicure. Attention must be paid to the nails, cuticle area and filing. Ensure that the pedicurist you visit is knowledgeable with regard to diabetic foot-care, uses appropriate tools and exercises proper hygiene.

Your feet mirror your

general health... cherish them!

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