Talking Complications And Marathon Footcare

Despite the title of this blog, complications are not an easy thing to talk about. But talk about them we must, because increasing knowledge, awareness and education through discussion are important ways to begin trying to combat them. I've been particularly inspired over the last few weeks by the way that some members of the diabetes community have been sharing their experiences of diabetes related-foot complications very openly. I also think this year's Diabetes Awareness Week themes of 'Talking About Diabetes' and 'Language Matters' have assisted us in opening the conversation talking to people outside of the diabetes community about them.

As I prepared recently for the Swansea Half Marathon, I was asked about life with diabetes and the risk of complications in one or two interviews I did and in many respects in the run up to the race, their avoidance wasn't far from my mind. It was a real challenge during the training phase because with sprinting, it's the force and the impact that would have the potential to cause foot issues. However, as I upped my mileage by a lot, the concern because the sheer volume of mileage I was now covering compared to sprinting. For example, in a typical track session at this time of year, we might only run 1000m and this would be broken up into short sprints. But I've since learned that with long distance running, 1000m could be considered a small drop in the ocean, as the Swansea Half marathon distance was actually 21km (or 21,000m).

I did all of my training in Toe Tec socks, swapping from the longer length when I was training back in the Winter, to the shorter length for the more Summer-like months. Of course blisters were a worry, because I knew that if I started to get them that it would not only mean time off training, but the risk of further skin deterioration and potential risk of infection. So I don't think it's a stretch to say that I put my trust in them to help me keep my feet in a healthy condition. Not having seams on the socks and with the fit being close enough to negate any bunching, meant that there wasn't something there for my skin to rub against. I also think that absorbing the sweat the way they did, helped keep my feet dry.

But I also did my part too by keeping my blood glucose levels within range as best I could and I also checked my feet every single time when getting out of the shower following my run. I took extra care to dry my feet well and ensure that there was no broken skin and amazingly, even when the temperature sky rocketed, there never was. The same was the case in the race itself, that despite being able to feel how hot the surface was under-foot, I didn't experience any foot problem during or afterwards. But as I head back to the track and keep up my training, when I go to clinic next in August, I'll ask them to check my feet too, as I'm aware that it's one of the 15 essential health checks. But complications are a complex thing and unfortunately it's a long-term risk, so here is some further information.

This blog was kindly sponsored by the team at Toe Tec/ Reed Medical, however all thoughts and views are my own.


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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