Objectively-speaking, I’m a bit of a weirdo… I can already hear my friends arching an eyebrow while saying, “Objectively???” But seriously, I tend to dip into the strange and unusual on occasion, but today’s post will be simply something to gross most people out. If you have an aversion to feet, you may want to back out of this post now without proceeding any further.
A couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying a nice half hour of shadow boxing in my home dojo. As I’ve written in previous posts, I purchased a whole batch of black foam mats that interconnect, making for a nice, open-concept area with a padded floor. Perfect for karate, wrestling, circuit workouts and more. During a particularly spirited portion of shadow boxing, I decided to execute a tuck ‘n roll where I come to a stop, delivering an elbow strike to my “opponent” on the floor. During the roll, I discovered an important detail about those foam mats. Toenails don’t slide on them…
When I executed my roll, I pushed off with my left foot. My big toe was the last thing to leave the mat, which caused the nail on my big toe to press down against the mat. When my toe continued moving, the nail decided to stay with the mat. The bloody line that’s clearly visible along the middle of the nail is where the toenail lifted. I completed the technique and continued on my merry way. It wasn’t until a minute or two later when I threw a front kick with the left foot that I noticed a bright, red drop fly out towards the wall. I looked down and discovered the mess you see above.
It’s not a secret that proper foot health is important to anyone with Diabetes. Over time, most people with Diabetes will develop SOME level of Diabetic Neuropathy, which can lead to all sorts of complications with the body’s extremities, namely the feet. The main concern with Neuropathy is that it can cause a loss of feeling in said extremities, meaning you may not feel the injury when it happens and delayed care can lead to infections or worse.
Another particular concern, is that Diabetes can also lead to lessened blood circulation. With less blood circulation (or slower blood circulation) the required platelets, nutrients and cells required for healing will be delivered much slower to someone with Diabetes, hence the reason you always hear that foot injuries take longer to heal. And that’s if they heal at all. For someone with extremely poor blood sugar control, medical intervention can be required in order to help the wound heal as it may not be likely to do so on its own.
For those of you who may be wondering: Yes, I felt the injury. Albeit not immediately. There was a delay due to the music and adrenaline. I was kind of in the zone. But I noticed the blood BEFORE I felt the sting. No, I didn’t halt my workout. I probably should have, in the interest of cleaning the wound and bandaging it appropriately. But I was about 20 minutes into a 30-minute shadow boxing routine and I didn’t feel the 10-minute delay would result in the loss of my toe.
But it’s important to recognize that if you have Diabetes, wounds should be cleaned and bandaged in a timely manner, even if they don’t hurt. Poor circulation issues and Neuropathy are sneaky bastards and can cause damage if you ignore injuries. Like the freshly forged blade of the samurai, my training mats have now been anointed in blood. Even if it’s mine. Damn it. Nathan plays on those mats. Looks like I’ll have some cleaning to do, once I’ve mended my toe… ☯