FORMER nurse S. Gnanasuntharavalli has found her passion in providing free foot care services to diabetic patients.
She believes that we should take good care of our legs just as we do our face.
The 67-year-old from Klang, who is Diabetes Malaysia (DM) Selangor branch honorary secretary, spends her free time caring for diabetic patients by giving them foot assessments and cutting their nails.
Fondly known as Gnanam by family and friends, she offers her services twice a month at the DM office in Taman Chi Liung in Klang on Saturdays.
Prior to her retirement six years ago, she was Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Diabetic Footcare Unit head. She has been providing foot care services for the past 15 years.
In 2004, Gnanam initiated the formation of DM’s Selangor branch and continued to offer foot care services on a voluntary basis.
“It is important that diabetic patients keep their legs in good shape. If they don’t, it could lead to amputations and further worsen their condition,” said the mother of two, adding that wearing the right shoes was vital.
Gnanam has done social work in Indo-nesia and Sri Lanka following the earthquake and tsunami, and has cared for more than 50,000 diabetic patients.
At the centre, Gnanam offers several types of foot care services to members and non-members for free.
The foot assessments include checking blood circulation, numbness and loss of sensation.
These tests, she said, must be done once a year, but those with serious conditions should be examined once every six months.
She added that they also offer Anodyne Therapy, a type of light therapy to relieve pain, numbness and circulation problems in the feet, as well as callus assessments and ankle brachial index, which is a test to diagnose peripheral arterial disease.
Gnanam said the nail-cutting services were for people who faced difficulty doing it on their own or are unable to pay for such service.
“I am more than willing to cut my patients’ nails and I get a lot of satisfaction from doing it.”
She said the happiest moment of her job was helping a patient avoid amputation of his foot by offering him foot care services on a daily basis for six months.
It has been over 10 years now and Gnanam still finds great joy in seeing the man walk.