-abbreviated from article by Jarrod Shapiro, DPM in Podiatry Management, March 2016
For people with diabetes, one of the scariest risks they face is the prospect of foot ulcers and subsequent amputation. The statistics are disturbing:
- Between 15-25%of diabetics will develop a foot ulcer at some time.
- 2-6% will develop a wound yearly.
- 84% of non-traumatic limb amputations in diabetes are preceded by an ulcer.
- 34% of patients develop a new ulcer within one year of healing their first ulcer.
- There is a 50% risk of developing a foot ulcer on the opposite limb after major limb amputation, and a 50% risk of amputation of that limb within 2-5 years.
- The survival rate after a major limb amputation is 50% after 3 years, and 40% after
These odd are truly sobering.
If you are diabetic, and you get an foot ulcer, you are highly likely to have a future one. If you ulcerate, you're much more likely to have a limb amputation. If that occurs, your life expectancy is much lower.
The good news is most of the ulcers can be prevented.
Naturally, education of the diabetic patient is the first step. Knowing how to prevent problems enables you to reduce the risk. A podiatrist can educate you on proper foot care. But that is not enough.
Studies have found that prescription therapeutic shoes do, indeed, prevent foot ulcers, compared with non-prescription shoes. The patients, of course, need to wear these shoes for most steps during the day.
Regular visits to the podiatrist for routine foot care is a critical action needed to prevent diabetic ulcer. Aside from debriding thick fungal toenails and callouses, a podiatrist will examine the feet and detect signs of impending problems.
The old saying, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", is more than appropriate in preventing diabetic ulcers. It may save your life.
If you are diabetic, feel free to call our office for an appointment to have your feet checked.