Free Footwear Health Check

One of the myths in Australian psyche is she’ll be right mate! In the case of diabetes, the response is it’s just a corn, it’s just a blister, oh yeah I did see a bit a blood on my sock yesterday, I just have not had the time to purchase some diabetic shoes.


A person with diabetes is at risk. The risk is greater if you have peripheral neuropathy which is partial or complete lack of sensation or feeling in the feet. An attitude of she’ll be right mate, cannot be accepted when it comes to diabetes and neuropathy.


At a recent conference held in Sydney Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said, ͞there were around 4,400 amputations performed in Australian hospitals every year – and up to 85 per cent of these could be prevented. At Happy Feet Pedorthics we can advise you about diabetic shoes and shoes which are suitable if you have had an amputation. Following on Professor Johnson described the situation as a national tragedy, calling for more to be done to save limbs, lives and reduce hospital budgets.


The direct cost to the Australian health system of diabetes related health amputations is around $875 million dollars every year, and then there is the huge personal cost to the individual and their family.


Professor Johnson is calling on the Australian Government to implement a Diabetes Amputation Prevention Initiative to ensure systematic early detection of foot problems, and early treatment to prevent amputations.


We know at Happy Feet Pedorthics that diabetic shoes make a difference to the foot health of people with diabetes, with the shoe providing more comfort, less pain, more mobility, more safety, as well as a preventative measure for further complications.


In contrast to the she’ll be right mate, way of many in our community, Professor Johnson said, we need to ensure people with diabetes understand what they need to do to look after their feet, make sure they can access specialized foot health teams when they need to, and ensure we set targets across the health system to reduce amputations and measure our progress.


In contrast to she’ll be right mate! what can one do to prevent problems?


Especially if you have neuropathy, start with looking at your feet every day – the top and the bottoms, including looking and feeling in between the toes and around the heel area. If you cannot see the bottoms use a mirror and if you cannot manage on your own, ask someone to help! Continuing to contrast she’ll be right mate! know what to look for, particularly if you have partial or full neuropathy.


Top of the list is check for corns and calluses as they cause pressure and can lead to ulceration. Also look for:

  • Bruises
  • Cracks or breaks in the skin
  • Whether the skin is soggy or dry
  • Swelling in one leg or foot and not in the other
  • Ingrown or sharp toenails
  • Blisters
  • Hot / cold spots or discolorations
  • Tinea
  • Something different which was not there yesterday!


Attending to your foot hygiene combats the she’ll be right mate! way

  • Wash your feet every day with warm water and mild soap.
  • Dry your feet and between your toes with a light-colored towel checking for blood or pus on the towel, and if there is then call your doctor immediately.
  • Moisturize your feet with a urea based cream, but do not put the cream between your toes.
  • If you have been advised that you can cut your own toe nails, do not cut them straight and not too short, using a file to rid of sharp edges.


The she’ll be right mate! way is out! What is in – is prevention! So:

    • Walking is good for daily activities, along with activities such as an exercise bike, water aerobics or swimming.
    • Protection of your feet is a must
      • so, use soft surf shoes at the beach / pool,
      • and remember to put block out cream on your feet
      • and please do not walk barefoot on hot sand or concrete
      • and in winter sit at least 3 metres from the heater and no hot water bottles



Clare Nelson C Ped CM AU



Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

At Happy Feet Pedorthics many people come for appropriate footwear. The forms are completed, shoes and socks are taken off, the feet are measured and a discussion takes place. It is very common for the client to then say, almost as an apology: I need diabetic shoes, or I am a diabetic.


Diabetes is a health condition which requires serious attention including the selection and wearing of appropriate footwear and good foot care.


There is a huge spread of healthy to unhealthy when it comes to people diagnosed with diabetes.



When it comes to footwear key questions to consider are:

  • Have you had a pedorthic footwear review of your footwear choices, given your diabetes and your overall foot health?
  • Have you ever had a foot ulcer?
  • Do you have nerve damage in your feet?
  • Do you have poor blood circulation to your feet?


A pedorthic footwear review of your footwear is strongly recommended by Happy Feet Pedorthics. As a free service to clients, a review will act as confirmation, or start you on a new path of healthy walking.


In completing a pedorthic footwear review at Happy Feet Pedorthics we have the following points in mind. Are the shoes made:

  • from leather and / or mesh to encourage air circulation, an ideal choice being a sport or walking day shoe.
  • as extra width and depth to accommodate the foot – and preferably with a round toe? The thinking here is that the shoes need to be the correct length, width and depth for the foot. with a firm heel counter? Is the shoe firm at the back such that it cannot be pushed flat?
  • with laces or velcro fastenings, to keep the shoe on the foot securely stopping the foot sliding forwards.
  • with a non-slip cushioned sole?


At Happy Feet Pedorthics the pedorthic review of footwear with the client in turn assists one to make a more informed choice for the next pair of footwear.


At Happy Feet Pedorthics our aim in the assessment and fitting process is for the client to have shoes which:

  • fit well and protect the feet
  • do not have rough seems or internal stitching, such as the moccasin style of shoes


At Happy Feet Pedorthics we want our clients to be confident about their footwear choices. In the process of assessing and fitting:

  • both feet are measured
  • we use powder on the shoe insert to confirm the length of the foot in the shoe
  • we use liners and fillers to confirm the width and the volume of the shoe
  • we have the client stand on the shoe insert to check that the shoe is wide enough
  • we provide for a podiatry review of your footwear choice before purchase if required

As a person with diabetes the choice of footwear is critical, particularly if the person has variable or no sensation in the feet.


Ring us now at Happy Feet Pedorthics on 9326 0266 to book your free Pedorthic Footwear Assessment.



Clare Nelson C Ped CM AU

Foot care as we party!

I remember a story told to me about my grandmother that the milking had to be done and then they were off to the Saturday evening dance frocked up in a gorgeous dress and wearing the most beautiful high heeled dancing pumps. That was in the day! And now the feet are so so sore!


Regular podiatry care and your personal attention to your foot health, including wearing good shoes can minimalize the effect of age related health issues to your feet. So often I hear the story –it’s just part of getting older. My response is about what we can do to give sore feet the boot.”


1. Walking on stones or bones

I hear it all the time –that I feel like I am walking on stones or on the bones of my feet. By the time we are 50 or so we have lost more than half of the fatty pads on the balls of our feet – hence the stones and bones experience! Regular podiatry care to remove corns and callous is a good basis. Regular massage of your feet with moisturizer leaves your feet soft and supple. Pedorthically the well cushioned, comfortable shoes are essential and for some people custom made insoles with off-loading provide absolute relief!


2. Mr. and Mrs. Arthritis appear

Each foot has 28 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, all of which can degenerate with age. The stories of arthritis at Happy Feet Pedorthics are mostly about the big toes or the midfoot joints on the top of the foot. People talk about their feet feeling stiff in the morning and that as they get moving they feel better for the day but then the pain can increase at night. As a pedorthist – supportive, well-fitting shoes are the starting point, and then pre-made or custom made orthotics often give considerable additional relief. A rocker soled shoe can also give relief to the feet as you roll through in the gait cycle – reducing pain especially at the toes.


Foot care as we party!

3. Toes hammering

At the start of this blog I wrote about frocking up and dancing the night away! Such fun then, and now, the outcome may be hammer toes, permanent bends in the smaller toes, corns and callous. What to do now? The dance goes on! Pedorthically consider shoes with wider deeper toe area, giving the toes room to move. Have regular podiatry care. And wear good fitting shoes in the day giving your feet more chance of tolerating your favorite dance shoes at night.


4. Circulation slows

Diabetes and vein disease can slow the flow of blood to the feet as we getolder. At Happy Feet Pedorthics we encourage people to look after their feet to reduce the incidence and extent of what could be avoidable cuts or blisters which can lead to ulcers. Neuropathy – a lack of feeling is linked to diabetes and vein disease. So wear footwear to protect your feet from sharp objects, and check the top and BOTTOM of your feet daily for cuts and scrapes. An accommodative orthotic can give considerable comfortand support to the feet of people with poor circulation.



5. Tendons tighten and ligaments lengthen

An older woman – probably one in the great grandmother group once said she could only tell that she was getting older when she looked at herself in the mirror. Some things we cannot see in the mirror but we know happen, like the fluid content in our tendons decline with age, hence there is less flexibility in our bodies including our ankles. And then there are the ligaments which stretch over time which can leave the arch stretched and the foot flatter. From the pedorthic view wear extra width and depth shoes which will also fit an orthotic to give support and cushioning; and exercise regularly to gain increased flexibility and strength through your whole body!





Clare Nelson C Ped CM AU