Diabetic Foot Care
- 25% of Patients with diabetes develop an ulcer (sore) on their foot or leg
- Patients with an ulcer that doesn’t heal or patients with a major amputation of a 50% mortality rate
- Improper fitting shoe gear can lead to an ulcer
- One of the most common complications of diabetes is neuropathy (loss of felling) which can lead to ulcers
- Vascular disease (poor circulation) is very common with diabetics
But, at Buckeye Foot Care there are some treatments we can do to either prevent or help cure these complications
- We do a complete check of your lower extremity, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
- Most insurances pay for Diabetic Shoes and Custom orthotics to help prevent ulcers. We properly fit and evaluate you and dispense these important devices.
- Dr. Kimmel and Buckeye Foot Care are considered international experts and leaders in the treatment in Diabetic Ulcers. You can learn more and read about Dr. Kimmel and how he treats diabetic ulcers in the about us section.
- Neuropathy that occurs with diabetes can be treated. Not only are there medications that can help treat neuropathy, Dr. Kimmel performs a special surgical procedure that can help relieve some of the symptoms.
Practical, Protective Foot Health Steps for People With Diabetes
Healthy feet are essential for overall good health, no matter your age, fitness level, or physical challenges. For people with diabetes, however, taking care of their feet is especially vital. More than 60 percent of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations worldwide are related to complications from the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.
A 2012 study by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) indicates Hispanics with diabetes are particularly in danger, because more than 90 percent of those with the disease or at risk for it have never seen a podiatrist as part of their health care.
“The leading cause of hospitalization among people with diabetes—regardless of ethnicity—is foot ulcers and infections, but most of those problems are largely preventable,” says Howard Kimmel, DPM, a podiatrist at Buckeye Foot Care and APMA member. “It’s important for those with the disease to ‘knock their socks off’ and receive regular foot exams by today’s podiatrists.”
While ulcers—open sores on the foot—are the most common diabetes-related foot problem, several others are also serious and prevalent, including neuropathy, skin changes, calluses, poor circulation, and infection. The nerve damage that diabetes causes may mean a person with an ulcer or injury may be unaware of it until it becomes infected. Infection can lead to partial or full amputation of the foot or lower leg.
The good news is, regular care from a podiatrist can help reduce amputation rates between 45 and 85 percent, according to APMA.
People with diabetes need to inspect their feet daily and be vigilant for warning signs of ulcers, including irritation, redness, cracked or dry skin (especially around the heels), or drainage on their socks.
“Although ulcers can occur anywhere on the foot or ankle, they are typically found on pressure points on the foot, like the ball of the foot or bottom of the big toe,” adds Dr. Kimmel. “If you discover an ulcer or have any symptoms, see a podiatrist immediately. In many cases, the foot can be saved with early treatment.”
In addition to examining your feet every day, and keeping your blood glucose in your target range, make sure to follow these foot health tips:
- Discuss your diabetes and the risks with your family. Diabetes can be hereditary, so talk to your family members about monitoring blood sugar and foot health.
- Never go barefoot. Always protect your feet with the proper footwear and make sure socks and shoes are comfortable and fit well.
- Trim toenails straight across, and never cut the cuticles. Seek immediate treatment for ingrown toenails, as they can lead to serious infection.
- Keep your feet elevated while sitting.
- Wiggle toes and move your feet and ankles up and down for five-minute sessions throughout the day.
“Successfully managing diabetes is a team effort, and today’s podiatrist is an integral player on that team,” Dr. Kimmel says.
Simple Steps That Help People With Diabetes Keep Their Feet Healthy
A diabetes diagnosis can be daunting, but a simple attitude adjustment can make a world of difference in how well you fare while living with the disease. When people with diabetes take proactive steps to monitor key health indicators, experts agree that it’s possible to prevent some of the most severe risks of diabetes, including lower limb amputation.
People ages 20 and older who are living with diabetes account for about 60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report.
“The CDC says the occurrence of diabetes-related foot and lower-leg amputation has decreased by 65 percent since 1996,” says Howard Kimmel DPM, a podiatrist at Buckeye Foot Care and member of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). “Working together, podiatrists and their patients with diabetes can reduce the number of amputations even more.”
People with diabetes may be less aware of cuts or wounds on their feet due to the nerve damage related to their disease, Dr. Kimmel points out. “Regular and vigilant foot care can help catch problems before they develop into a health crisis.”
APMA offers advice to help people with diabetes protect their foot health:
- Inspect your feet daily, checking the entire foot and all 10 toes for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration. Treat wounds immediately and see your podiatrist if a problem persists or infection is apparent.
- Exercise by walking, which can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve circulation. Be sure to wear athletic shoes appropriate for the type of exercise you’re doing.
- When you buy new shoes, have them properly measured and fitted. Foot size and shape can change over time, and ill-fitting shoes are a leading cause of foot pain and lesions. Certain types of shoes, socks, and custom orthotics are available for people with diabetes, and they may be covered under Medicare. You can find a list of podiatrist-approved footwear and products for people with diabetes on the APMA website, www.apma.org.
- Keep your feet covered and never go barefoot, even at home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great.
- See a podiatrist to remove calluses, corns, or warts—don’t tackle them yourself, and don’t ask an unlicensed nonprofessional to do it. Over-the- counter products can burn your skin and injure your foot. Podiatrists are specially trained to address all aspects of foot health for people with diabetes.
- Get checkups twice a year. An exam by your podiatrist is the best way to ensure your feet stay healthy.
“For people with diabetes, taking charge of your own foot health can help you avoid foot-related complications like amputation,” Dr. Kimmel says. “Working with today’s podiatrist will help you safeguard your foot health.”