Did you know that the most common reason for hospitalization among people with diabetes is for amputations, and not for high blood glucose episodes or circulatory issues? Diabetics have higher risks of foot complications due to the development of neuropathy (nerve damage), which can result in the loss of sensation. When foot injuries like blisters or cuts go unnoticed, a foot ulcer can form, and because people with diabetes heal slower, infections are the result. If infections are not treated or healed properly, amputation may be necessary.
The best strategy to avoid amputations and other foot complications is proper management of your diabetes through regular exercise, blood sugar monitoring, maintaining a healthy diet, and taking care of your feet.
The following are additional ways to reduce your risk of amputations:
- Inspect your feet everyday – incorporate it into your daily routine
- Protect your feet with clean, dry socks – do not walk around barefoot
- Wear proper fitting shoes – prescription shoes and custom orthotics are useful for addressing abnormal foot mechanics
- Trim your toenails carefully – cut them straight across to minimize ingrown toenails
- Lower your blood glucose – follow your prescribed regimen closely
- Avoid extreme temperatures – neuropathy can prevent you from feeling a burn
- Do not try to remove calluses or treat wounds yourself – see a podiatrist
- Do not smoke – smoking reduces blood circulation, which would exacerbate any circulatory or nerve problems you already have
Seeing a foot care specialist on a regular basis is one of the most important and proactive ways you can help reduce foot complications. An experienced, board-certified podiatrist can help recommend footwear, assess nerve damage, treat wounds and ulcers, and recommend amputations if necessary.
At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, Dr. Russell Samofal uses his expertise and advanced technologies to help patients with all types of foot and ankle issues, such as heel pain, arthritis, toe deformities, balance issues, and sports injuries. Dr. Samofal specializes in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery and has a passion for treating diabetic patients. Contact our Wayne office at (973) 925-4111 to schedule an appointment today!