26 Apr,2024

Dr. Vilas Jambhulkar

Step Ahead: Proactive Strategies for Diabetic Foot Care

In the midst of India's alarming rise in diabetes cases, currently standing at 40.9 million and projected to surge to 69.9 million by 2025, there's a growing awareness of the need for an active lifestyle. However, what often goes unnoticed is the impact of diabetes on our feet, leading to a complication known as Diabetic Neuropathy, which can significantly impede the pursuit of an active life. A staggering 60-70% of diabetes patients develop peripheral neuropathy, with 20% facing the additional risk of developing foot ulcers.

Diabetes poses a significant threat to limb health, with a limb lost every 20 seconds due to diabetes-related complications. Therefore, it is crucial to shed light on the potential harm diabetes can inflict on our feet.

Diabetes contributes to two major issues that can adversely affect your feet.

1. Diabetic Neuropathy

Damaged nerves can lead to a lack of sensation in your legs and feet, making it difficult to detect pain, heat, or cold. A seemingly innocuous sore or cut on your foot can escalate without your awareness.

Symptoms:

  • - Burning and tingling sensations, often worse at night.
  • - Numbness or insensitivity to pain and temperature.
  • - Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch.
  • - Sharp pain sensations and cramps.
  • - Loss of balance and coordination.

2. Peripheral Vascular Disease (P.V.D.):

Insufficient blood flow makes it challenging for sores or infections to heal properly.

Symptoms:

  • - Numbness and swelling in the feet
  • - Coldness in the legs.
  • - Heaviness in legs or cramps, typically worsening at night.

The Diabetes Dilemma

These two problems, if left unchecked, can create a detrimental cycle leading to foot problems. Certain areas of the foot, termed "pressure areas," bear excessive weight during standing and walking, making them prone to ulceration. Once an ulcer develops, it restricts mobility, contributing to increased sugar levels, trapping individuals in a vicious circle.

A Prescription for Prevention

The good news is that these complications can be both prevented and treated through patient education and the expertise of a Podiatry Doctor, also known as a Foot Doctor.

Podiatry Interventions:

- Conducting a comprehensive clinical evaluation of the foot and lower limb.

- Gait analysis for a holistic understanding of the patient's walking pattern.

- Foot health education to empower patients with self-care techniques for preventing foot pathology.

- Prescription of properly fitting footwear tailored to the client's foot length and width.

- Customized orthotics to redistribute pressure under the feet.

- Non-surgical management of corns and calluses.

Unlocking the Path to Foot Health

The key to foot health in diabetes lies in creating a safe and secure environment for your feet. Following prescribed instructions and taking proactive measures can correct early foot deformities, preventing chronic mobility issues and alleviating discomfort while averting future expenses.

The Role of Podiatry in Amputation Prevention

Podiatrists play a crucial role in preventing amputations by addressing foot issues early on. Regular check-ups with a podiatrist can be a proactive step in the right direction, ensuring that your feet are well-maintained and problems are detected and addressed promptly.

  • Diagnose the risk level & advise do's & don't.
  • Prescribe right size shoes (length & width)
  • Orthotics which will help to redistribute foot pressure & prevent ulcers

In conclusion, it's essential to prioritize your foot health and consider consulting a podiatrist regularly. Remember, it's better to be preventive and proactive than to face the consequences later. Save your feet before you lose them. Listen to the podiatrist, take that step in the right direction, and preserve your mobility and quality of life.

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