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Thread: karate and diabetes

  1. #1
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    Default karate and diabetes

    Hi all, forgive me if this has been covered before, I just went through a few pages and found about a dozen threads of interest and read them for a few hours, and I have an essay to get on with for college lol.

    Anyways, I recently tried karate, and enjoyed it very much, so will be going back. My concern though is about bare feet. I've recently been studying various Chinese martial arts, covered wing chun, tai chi, and feng shou, all of them are done without uniforms and with shoes on, which suits me down to the ground. But in karate it's a barefoot thing. This concerns me a bit because I'm diabetic, and in some classes from years ago when I did aikijutsu and taekwondo barefoot, occasionally my feet would be black with dust and grime and whatnot from the floor we'd be training on, which once on my feet would dry and cause dry skin and more.

    I'm still young, 23, but my diabetes isn't brilliantly controlled (part of why I want to get back into martial arts for regular exercise), so I'm worried about how being barefoot on hard cold floor will affect my feet.

    Does anyone have experience as a teacher who had diabetic students what you consider acceptable (such as wearing socks, though that might cause slipping, or kung fu slippers or something), or as diabetics who have had to work something out to protect their feet? It feels kinda effeminate thing to do after karate but I'm thinking of moisturising my feet when I get in or something to inspect for cracked skin and whatnot. Will ask the sensei about it when I go next, but in the mean time..any tips or advice will be taken on board.

    Thanks
    Dan Gould

    Not yet rated (Rather comfy in the gi now, just waiting to look good in it)

  2. #2
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    Addressing your medical condition, and including keeping your feet well cared for, is not effeminate in any way or form.

    What I would do is ask if wearing something like tabi or Vibrams footwear- http://www.vibramfivefingers.com - is acceptable due to your diabetes. If they say "no", go to another dojo. Wearing protective footwear to protect your feet due to diabetes is a reasonable thing, and any instructor worth a darn should not have a problem with this.

    Budo is supposed to support your health and be part of your life. If it impacts it with a negative - makes you do things that could permamently affect your health for no good reason- than it's not worth doing. Yeah, risk of injury in hard training is part of budo, but a simple protective measure like you are talking about is smart.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the link, they look great, will look into them. The teacher seems a very reasonable man, and now I think of it I bought those slipper socks with the light grips on the soles years ago when I was doing aikido for exactly that reason (also I was prone to cramping because my feet got cold, though that's not a problem these days.)

    They say advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer lol. Was worth asking to get that link though, thanks again.

    Dan
    Dan Gould

    Not yet rated (Rather comfy in the gi now, just waiting to look good in it)

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    If you are going to wear something it needs to be absolutely supportive, you don't want it giving when it's your supporting foot in a kick for example.

    I've worn footwear before when it was medically required, it just makes sense.
    Jim Boone

    Flick Lives!

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    Default Nice Job Neil!

    Greetings,

    One of the reasons I 'retired' from teaching and doing MA's is the fact that I am a latent type II diabetic and found that doing it in my bare feet combined with neuropeathy in one foot was a bit too much for me. There were also other reasons for 'retiring', but the one stated above was a very strong supporting reason.

    Good answer, Neil. If I was younger and looking to continue in the MA's your suggestion would be my solution.

    Regards,
    Tom
    Tom Militello
    "You can't hide on the mats." Terry Dobson sensei.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shindai View Post
    ...My concern though is about bare feet. ...This concerns me a bit because I'm diabetic, and in some classes from years ago when I did aikijutsu and taekwondo barefoot, occasionally my feet would be black with dust and grime and whatnot from the floor we'd be training on, which once on my feet would dry and cause dry skin and more.
    I'm diabetic, and am a former karateka and now practice ken and jo arts. You should discuss this with a diabetologist or other medical practitioner, of course, and much will depend on your current state of health, but for what it's worth:

    I have mild neuropathy in one foot (mainly numbness, but occasionally "pins and needles" pain), and the typical slow healing of foot and leg wounds. I was worried about practicing barefoot when returning after a long layoff. I got blisters at first, and had to be very diligent in treating them with antibiotic cream and such, but now my feet are toughend up, and I think it's actually a benefit because I will now be less likely to develop blisters in the future.

    I wash my feet after practice, before putting my socks and shoes back on, and I use a foot lotion every night before retiring. http://www.kerasal.com/cream.shtml

    Talk this over with your doctor, and follow his or her advice, but you do have several different possible options from which to choose. Since no two of us are alike, what works for me may not work for you and vice versa.

    Further reading:

    http://www.footphysicians.com/footan...guidelines.htm
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  7. #7
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    Dan ~

    I have been type 1 for 19 years now. My control has been in and out. During that time frame, I have practiced several years of Shotokan and have recently taken up Aikido.

    Aside from contacting your endo, I can tell you that practice will help you. My feet actually toughen up when in practice. I use lotion several times a day and keep an eye on callouses. I, or my wife, inspect my feet every night. I would keep an eye on the floors and make sure they are well swept. Now that I practice on mats, this is not as much of an issue.

    I do not have neuropathy in my feet, but do in my left quad (a bit rarer). If you ever get symptoms, get to a doctor, with or without insurance.

    Other than that, train smart. You and your Sensei will learn to adapt to anything. If you ever need more of a chat, post or pm. Take care.
    ~John Bevard~

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    Default footwear

    I allow many of my students to wear footwear (kung fu shoes, tabi or martial arts footwear like those available through Century or Adidas) for a variety of reasons - diabetes, raynauds, etc.

    I also wear them myself when I am teaching in community centres or school gymnasiums - the floors are never as clean as one would like and I'd rather not pick up who knows what on my feet....
    Jason G. Bilodeau

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    Thank you for your replies everyone, apologies for my slow response, it's been such a long time since I came here before I started the thread I forgot to check back.

    As it happens I raised the point with my sensei and he's also diabetic and before I'd finished asking if it's ok to wear something he said I could wear whatever I wanted (within reason obviously) if I needed to. I tried the slipper socks and was disappointed with their grip, and felt like a pillock wearing socks in a room full of bare feet, but then I was the only one in black kung fu pants and black t shirt in a room full of crisp white gi, so hey ho

    I'll keep an eye out for those vibram five finger thingerbobs, seen them before and would love to own some but for now can't afford it.

    The ironic thing is before I was diagnosed with diabetes I spent ages walking around barefoot to toughen up my feet, and continued for a couple of years after my diagnosis, but was then told to have tough skin on my feet was dangerous for a diabetic, so I stopped walking barefoot and my feet have since got softer. Do you think it would be worth me "training" my feet again?

    Thank you all again, I'm so unsure about this stuff. I've been diabetic long enough to have forgotten the basics, I'm embarassed to say, I'm sure the sites you gave me will be useful Brian

    Incidentally, shotokan rocks Loving every second of it!

    Oss

    Dan
    Dan Gould

    Not yet rated (Rather comfy in the gi now, just waiting to look good in it)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shindai View Post
    ...The ironic thing is before I was diagnosed with diabetes I spent ages walking around barefoot to toughen up my feet, and continued for a couple of years after my diagnosis, but was then told to have tough skin on my feet was dangerous for a diabetic... Do you think it would be worth me "training" my feet again?
    Unfortunately, there are no "one size fits all" answers to the complex problems of diabetics. I think getting "hard spots" on the feet would be a problem (it might be a sign of compromised circulation), but overall tougher skin would be a benefit. Most doctors might not make the distinction between the two, because in the modern world so few have tough feet but many have corns, calluses, bunions, etc.

    Talk this over with your doctor, do some reading, pay attention to your own feet, and live accordingly.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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