If you have diabetes, or know someone with diabetes, then you know that foot conditions are fairly common and that they worsen with age.
The reason for this is that many diabetics do not have normal feelings in their feet. Over time, nerve impulses to the feet are impaired due to sugar (glucose) imbalances. This condition, known as neuropathy, decreases sensation in the foot.
Because of the neuropathy, a diabetic cannot feel normal skin sensations or pressure on their feet. Any friction or rubbing from a shoe causes even more pressure – increased pressure that the diabetic can’t feel. This pressure may cause breakdown of the skin and subsequently an ulcer (sore) develops.
The ulcer, if left untreated, can become infected, affecting the bone, and often, amputation becomes necessary.
It is estimated that 60 – 70% of all diabetics experience neuropathy. One in five will undergo amputation as a result of diabetic ulcers and more than 50% of all amputees are likely to die within 5 years.
Seems astounding doesn’t it? To put it more concrete terms, every 30 seconds, someone somewhere in the world is losing a limb due to diabetes. The health care costs related to diabetes in the U.S. alone are $174 billion a year and approximately one-fifth of that is for diabetic foot care and amputations!!
How can you prevent diabetic foot ulcers and avoid possible amputation? Here are a few critical suggestions that can help to avoid this severe and dangerous affliction:
- Examine your feet every night before going to sleep. Do a visual inspection to identify redness, cracks, ingrown toenails, and corns. Run the back of your hand up and down the bottoms of both feet. Check to see if there are any areas that feel hotter than the same area on the opposite foot. A “hot spot” might signal infection which would require immediate care and attention in our office
- Change your shoes several times throughout the day to lessen the impact of pressure caused by one pair. And, of course, make sure you wear well fitted, quality shoes.
- Come into our office on a regular schedule to have your feet examined before a little problem becomes a much larger problem. We can provide you with informative patient education materials to help prevent ulcers that can lead to infection.
All diabetic patients at our office are educated to call us right away if they ever notice a problem! Our staff knows the importance of getting you in THAT DAY so we may evaluate the issue.
Lastly, the Doctors at Lakes Foot and Ankle Associates are trained in the specialized treatment method known as Total Contact Casting. Very few Podiatric Physicians in Southeast Michigan utilize this very valuable treatment method due to time constraints, cost, and lack of proper training. Often considered the “Gold Standard” in aiding wound healing, our office is very skilled at using this treatment modality.
Please go to our website at www.lakesfootankle.com for even more information.