New Diabetes Video Highlights Foot Risks, Offers Tips to Help Prevent Ulceration
People with diabetes, their caregivers and health professionals urged to pay more attention to foot care
(November 14, 2012 — Statesville, NC) - In support of Diabetes Awareness Month, the Institute for Preventive Foot Health (IPFH) has released an educational diabetes video to alert people with diabetes to the importance of caring for their feet. “Diabetes greatly increases the risk for problems and amputations, yet a recent IPFH survey shows fewer than half (46%) of people with diabetes have regular foot screenings with their doctor,” says IPFH Executive Director Robert (Bob) P. Thompson, CPed. “They should be having these screenings and taking preventive measures on their own to reduce the chances of developing a potentially life-threatening foot condition.”
Foot care is vital for everyone—but especially for people with diabetes and other conditions that affect blood flow to the feet, such as peripheral arterial disease (also known as PAD). Injuries to the skin or soft tissues of the foot can interfere with mobility and damage underlying blood vessels, nerves, tendons, ligaments and other foot structures. That damage can cause neuropathy (numbness).
The greatest danger from neuropathy is unrecognized trauma to the feet—for example, you may step on a piece of glass or a nail and not take care of the cut because you don’t see or feel it. This can lead to infection and, in severe cases, amputation.
Even if you don’t have neuropathy, poor blood flow to your feet can interfere with your ability to walk, climb stairs or do other activities. And if you do get a cut or bruise on your foot, it will heal slowly—if at all.
In the new video, Thompson explains why it is important for people with diabetes, their caregivers and health professionals to take proactive, preventive steps to protect the skin and soft tissues of the feet. He also provides tips and strategies, such as the following:
• Check your feet—top bottom, sides, between the toes, toenails—at least once a day, ideally after a shower.
• Be aware of any tingling, numbness—or no feeling at all—and see your doctor immediately.
• Look and feel for bumps, blisters, bruises, cuts, sores or cracked skin—even the tiniest crack can become infected.
• Don't walk barefoot, especially if you have neuropathy or poor blood flow.
• Wear padded socks with properly fitted shoes and any inserts or orthotics recommended by your foot-care professional to protect your feet.
“Follow these foot care tips to help ensure that your feet are as healthy and functional as possible, despite diabetes,” Thompson urges. “If you are caring for someone with diabetes, inspect that person’s feet regularly, keep his or her feet clean and dry and choose the appropriate and properly fitted padded socks and footwear. Also be sure to communicate regularly with the person’s doctor.”
The new video is only one of many foot-health resources available on the IPFH website for people with diabetes and for the general public and health care professionals.
The Institute for Preventive Foot Health (IPFH) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness, education, research, and the identification of easy-to-follow methods to prevent, treat and manage painful conditions and diseases affecting the feet. IPFH was founded by James L. Throneburg, owner of the THORLO Company, based on knowledge gained from groundbreaking clinical research conducted with novel padded sock designs donated by THORLO. Both Throneburg and THORLO continue to provide financial support for IPFH and to initiate collaborative efforts with the organization’s educational partners: the Amputee Coalition and the International Council on Active Aging.