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Diabetic Foot Care

Updated on July 31, 2013

Diabetes Foot Problems

People with diabetes have a wide array of health complications they must take into consideration because they may result in extreme debilitation and possibly death. One such health concern that surrounds diabetics everywhere is proper diabetic foot care, as foot health problems are the most common reasons people with diabetes are hospitalized. Of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, diabetes is the leading cause.

Diabetic foot problems are initially caused by peripheral neuropathy which is a dysfunction of the body where the nerves of the peripheral nervous system are damaged. Diabetic neuropathy causes a loss of feeling in the lower extremities due to nerve damage from high blood sugar levels. Because there is no sense or feeling of pain, minor injuries on the foot such as cuts, calluses and blisters may go unnoticed which can eventually lead to ulcers.

An ulcer is an open wound that is unable to heal complete. Because of peripheral neuropathy, it is easy to see why people with diabetes are more likely to have foot ulcers when compared to other patients. Due to the high blood glucose levels for diabetics, the sore can become infected. Poor circulation is also a result of neuropathy which prevents the ulcer from healing, or healing very slowly. When left untreated, an ulcer can result in gangrene which requires amputation to prevent the spread. This is why it is extremely important for diabetics to inspect their feet daily and follow proper foot care guidelines set forth by their doctor, podiatrist and/or pedorthist.

Diabetes has such a negative effect on the body in so many different ways that special attention is necessary in order to maintain a healthy life. Of all the non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, diabetes is the leading cause with more than 60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputation occurring in people with diabetes. The U.S. Department of Health states that in 2006, about 65,7000 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations were performed on people with diabetes. It' is no wonder that proper diabetic foot care is an essential part of a a healthy diabetic lifestyle.

Diabetic Ulcer Information

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Diabetic Foot Care Video

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Proper Diabetic Foot Care

Here are a list of guidelines obtained from the American Diabetes Association in regards to proper diabetic foot care and prevention.

  • Take care of your diabetes by keeping your blood glucose level in your target range.
  • Check your feet daily to find red spots, cuts, swelling and blisters
  • Wear proper footwear to protect your feet
  • Wash your feet every day, especially in between the toes; make sure to dry your feet
  • Maintain skin moisture by using lotion on the top and bottom of your feet
  • Trim toenails straight across
  • Protect feet from the elements i.e. heat and cold
  • Keep blood flowing to your feet by wiggling your toes and putting your feet up when sitting

Please note that feet need to be dried after washing, especially between the toes. Moisture tends to build up between the toes, which can encourage fungal growth. Lotion between the toes should also be avoided for the same reason.

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Diabetic Amputation Facts

Diabetes is no joke as it has such a negative effect on the entire body. Diabetes especially has a major impact on the lower-limbs. Because of improper maintenance of foot health, wounds may not heal and may become infected. Below you will find knowledgeable facts on diabetic amputation.

  • It is suggested that diabetes related amputations cost about $3 billion dollars per year, with each amputation procedure costing about $38,000
  • Every year, more than half of the amputations that occur in the United are caused by diabetes and related complications; most amputations are lower-extremity
  • Diabetic neuropathy contributes to deformities of the foot, and/or ulcers that increase the likelihood of lower-extremity amputation
  • Lower-extremity amputation occurs at a much higher rate (67 percent) among people with diabetes

Diabetic Foot Care Summary

Diabetes is a very serious condition where a cure has yet to be found. In the United States, 25.8 children and adults have diabetes (that's 8.3% of the entire US population). Diabetes affects all areas of the body and various complications may occur. If you are a diabetic, proper diabetic foot care is a must. Follow the steps and instructions listed on this HuB to ensure that your or your diabetic friends and families have healthy and happy feet!

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    • bigfeet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marcus 

      5 years ago from California

      Hey Lenny,

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience. Diabetes is definitely no joke, and as you get older, things become more complicated with your body. This is why diabetics need to pay extra attention to their surroundings compared to others.

    • LennyP profile image

      LennyP 

      5 years ago from Iowa

      My father lost his foot to diabetes. He also eventually lost his life to it. Diabetes is no joke.

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