Diabetes is a condition that can cause nerve damage and poor circulation to the feet if not controlled properly. The latest research suggests that exercise plays a key role in helping to prevent and control type 2 diabetes. If you keep your diabetes properly managed, you can avoid more serious complications. Exercise for diabetes

Exercise Recommendations for Type 2 Diabetics

In February 2022, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) released new recommendations to help those with type 2 diabetes. The recommendations are based on research that confirms exercise can help prevent and manage this condition. Lead author Jill A. Kanaley, Ph.D. mentions that “Exercise can play an important role in managing type 2 diabetes, and workouts can be modified to fit the abilities of most people.” For those with type 2 diabetes, the following guidelines are recommended:

  • Break up exercise throughout the day in small doses to lower blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • Be most active after eating meals to lower blood glucose.
  • Do regular aerobic exercise to help manage blood sugar levels.
  • Do high intensity resistance exercise rather than low- to moderate-intensity exercise.
  • Lower insulin a bit or add a few more carbs if you’re going to exercise. This can help avoid crashing after a workout.

Diet, Exercise, and Foot Care

Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise can both play an important role in managing type 2 diabetes. Keeping your feet healthy and caring for them at home can also be vital for those with diabetes. Some tips to consider for healthy feet are:

  • Check your feet daily to look for any signs of injury or infection. If you are unable to see all areas of your feet, use a mirror or ask a friend or family member for help. Be sure to exam your feet in a well-lit area.
  • Wash your feet daily in warm water and use a mild soap. Never soak your feet in hot water for long periods of time. Always dry your feet completely and pay close attention to the areas between your toes.
  • Trim your toenails straight across, and keep the edges rounded to prevent ingrown toenails.
  • Never go barefoot to prevent injuries to the bottoms of your feet.
  • Always wear socks to protect your feet and shoes that fit properly and are not too tight.
  • Consult with a podiatrist at the first sign of a foot problem.

How a Podiatrist Can Help

Regular exercise can help control diabetes, but it’s also important to see an experienced podiatrist for taking care of your feet and helping manage the condition as well. A podiatrist can do the following:

  • Exam your feet and screen for conditions such as neuropathy or peripheral arterial disease
  • Remove calluses or corns and treat dry, hardened skin on your heels
  • Trim your toenails if you are unable to do so
  • Make recommendations on specific types of footwear or custom orthotics
  • Teach you the proper ways to care for your feet at home

If you notice any of the following signs, consult with a podiatrist immediately since it can indicate a more serious problem:

  • Sudden or sharp pain in your feet or legs
  • Burning or tingling
  • Change in the appearance of your feet
  • Changes in sensation or temperature of your feet
  • Sores or ulcers on your feet that are not healing
  • Loss of hair on your feet and legs
  • Dry, cracked, or bleeding skin on your feet or heels
  • Ingrown toenail or fungal infection

Catching a problem in its earliest stages is key to preventing a problem from turning more serious. Complications that can occur from untreated foot problems include foot ulcers, infection, gangrene, and amputation.

Contact Us

If you have type 2 diabetes and have questions about caring for your feet or have a foot wound that needs to be treated, contact the team at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for a consultation. To schedule an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our convenient contact form, or call us today.