Say "NO" to pedicures and lower limb massages if you have diabetes | Health - Hindustan Times
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Say "NO" to pedicures and lower limb massages if you have diabetes

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Oct 09, 2023 08:38 PM IST

Diabetes expert highlights the signs of poor blood circulation in diabetics, suggests to say "NO" to pedicures and lower limb massages. Here's why

Living with diabetes brings unique challenges and one area that requires special attention is foot care. According to health experts, diabetes can impact various parts of the body, including the feet, making individuals more susceptible to foot problems due to reduced blood flow and nerve damage.

Say "NO" to pedicures and lower limb massages if you have diabetes (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Say "NO" to pedicures and lower limb massages if you have diabetes (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Unraveling the complications of poor blood flow in type 2 diabetes

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rajiv Kovil, Chairperson at Zandra Healthcare and Co-Founder of Rang De Neela initiative, shared, “Poor blood circulation is a significant concern for those with type 2 diabetes, as it can lead to an increased risk of amputation. People may experience pain while walking, as well as tingling or a decrease in sensation in their feet. Individuals with type 2 diabetes also face a higher risk of foot infections, ulcers, and delayed wound healing. Nerve damage, known as neuropathy, is a major issue that further elevates the likelihood of amputation.”

Pedicures: Proceed with caution

Many women with diabetes believe that pedicures are an essential part of their foot care routine however, Dr Kovil advised against getting pedicures at beauty salons. Instead, he recommended visiting a podiatrist or orthotist who specialises in foot care for a proper foot care regime.

Dr Rajiv Kovil explained, “The rationale behind this caution lies in the fact that people with diabetes, particularly those with poorly controlled blood sugar levels, are prone to foot problems such as decreased circulation and nerve damage. These conditions diminish the feet's ability to fight infections and impair the ability to sense injuries. During pedicures, even minor cuts and nicks on the skin can increase the risk of infection. Furthermore, hygiene at the salon is crucial, especially for individuals with diabetes.”

He asserted, “Foot baths should be meticulously cleaned and disinfected between customers and clippers and other tools should be thoroughly washed and sanitized using disinfecting solutions or surgical autoclaves, which employ pressurized steam to sterilize instruments. Nail trimming should be done carefully, avoiding overly short nails that can lead to ingrown toenails and infection. Toenail edges should be rounded off with a file instead of being left sharp. Finally, it is important to note that painting toenails to conceal fungal infections should be strictly avoided.”

Lower limb massages: Seek expert guidance

Dr Rajiv Kovil said, “Similar caution should be exercised when considering lower limb massages at spas and wellness centers. Individuals with diabetes should avoid these services and consult with a podiatrist or orthotist instead. “Proper blood glucose control, regular exercise, healthy nutrition, the use of diabetic socks, and quitting tobacco can help improve lower limb blood circulation. If one still desires a lower limb massage, seeking professional advice is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.”

Recognising the signs of poor blood circulation in individuals with diabetes

Spotting symptoms of compromised blood circulation can be challenging but early recognition can help prevent severe complications, including amputation hence, Dr Rajiv Kovil suggested, “Keep an eye out for the following Look out for the following indicators: pain in the calf while walking, brittle nails, cold feet, dry or cracked skin (especially on the feet), hair loss on the feet, skin discoloration, slow-healing wounds and tingling or numbness in the feet.”

He concluded, “Remaining vigilant and promptly addressing any concerns allows individuals with diabetes to provide the necessary care for their feet, mitigating the risk of devastating consequences. Remember, when it comes to foot care, it is crucial to prioritize expert guidance and personalised treatments rather than opting for general beauty services. Your feet deserve the utmost attention and care, especially if you are living with diabetes.”

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