Sunday, January 8, 2017

Preventing Diabetic Foot Ulcers

       -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   
                     5 years.

    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.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Best Shoes for Seniors

This is an often asked question in my office, and I'm sure in many other podiatrists' offices, as well.  The answer may not be simple, for everyone's feet are different, but there are some useful guidelines.

For many baby boomers, walking may be the only form of exercise they do. Several studies have shown the relationship between regular exercise and longer life expectancy and better health.  That is one reason why finding the right type of shoe is critical for keeping pain-free, active and healthy.

Common foot problems unique to seniors are fat atrophy, arthritis, neuropathy and muscle weakness.  In general, a supportive shoe with a soft innersole or memory type insert is a good start.  Along with muscle strengthening and stretching exercises, lighter shoes can be worn with greater success.

Running shoes for seniors are a good choice since they are lightweight, more "breathable", and have better cushioning and support than conventional slip-on shoes.  Seniors should avoid heavy or bulky shoes, as they can cause tripping, falling or just inactivity.  If the shoes have no stability or support, in the case of slippers or moccasins, patients can loose balance, fall or develop foot or arch pain.  For patients who use walkers or canes, Velcro or Lycra style shoes are usually well tolerated.

Always be certain to buy shoes that are roomy in the toe-box, well cushioned, have a slightly raised heel and an sole that neither "slips" or "grips".  When trying on shoes, they should feel comfortable immediately.  There is no such a thing as "breaking in" shoes.
Our office is always happy to assist in evaluating your foot care needs and keeping you as healthy as possible in 2017!