DR. JACOBSON DISCUSSES DIABETES AND YOU FEET
A simple foot exam would save 3.6 Billion dollars a year and help prevent disabling wounds and amputations.
DIABETES AND YOUR FEET
According to the American Diabetes Association, about 15.7 million people (5.9 percent of the United States population) have diabetes. Nervous system damage (also called neuropathy) affects about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes and is a major complication that may cause diabetics to lose feeling in their feet or hands.
Even with good pulses the smallest blood vessels are affected by diabetes. That is why the eyes, kidneys and feet are affected. Your toes are the farthest distance from you heart with the greatest chance of circulation embarrassment.
The diabetics at great risk have both altered feeling and poor circulation. When you don't have feeling you don't know there is a problem unless you see it. If you have poor circulation, even antibiotics have trouble getting to the foot. Even something as small as a blister, thick toenail, corn, callus or ingrown toenail can cause increased pressure from wearing a shoe that's too tight can cause a lot of damage. Diabetes decreases blood flow, so injuries are slow to heal. When your wound is not healing, it's at risk for infection. As a diabetic, your infections spread quickly.
If you have diabetes, you should inspect your feet every day. Look for puncture wounds, bruises, pressure areas, redness, warmth, blisters, ulcers, scratches, cuts and nail problems. Diabetics must constantly monitor their feet or face severe consequences, including amputation. It only take seconds to prevent a potential small problem from becoming a lengthy, difficult problem. Get someone to help you, or use a mirror. See a Podiatrist every 2 months if you have risk factors and at least annually absence of extra risk factors.
Here's some basic advice for taking care of your feet:
•Always keep your feet warm.
•Don't get your feet wet in rain.
•Don't smoke or sit cross-legged. Both decrease blood supply to your feet.
•Don't soak your feet.
•Don't use antiseptic solutions, drugstore medications, heating pads or sharp instruments on your feet.
•Trim your toenails straight across. Avoid cutting the corners. Use a nail file or emery board. If you find an ingrown toenail, contact our office.
•Use quality lotion to keep the skin of your feet soft and moist, but don't put any lotion between your toes.
•Wash your feet every day with mild soap and warm water. Dry thoroughly.
•Wear loose socks to bed.
•When drying your feet, pat each foot with a towel and be careful between your toes.
•Buy shoes that are comfortable without a "breaking in" period. Check how your shoe fits in width, length, back, bottom of heel, and sole. Avoid pointed-toe styles and high heels. Try to get shoes made with leather upper material and deep toe boxes. Wear new shoes for only two hours or less at a time. Don't wear the same pair every day. Inspect the inside of each shoe before putting it on. Don't lace your shoes too tightly or loosely.
•Choose socks and stockings carefully. Wear clean, dry socks every day. Avoid socks with holes or wrinkles. Thin cotton socks are more absorbent for summer wear. Square-toes socks will not squeeze your toes. Avoid stockings with elastic tops.
When your feet become numb, they are at risk for becoming deformed. One way this happens is through ulcers. Open sores may become infected. Another way is the bone condition Charcot (pronounced "sharko") foot. This is one of the most serious foot problems you can face. It warps the shape of your foot when your bones fracture and disintegrate, and yet you continue to walk on it because it doesn't hurt. Diabetic foot ulcers and early phases of Charcot fractures can be treated with a total contact cast.
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