Uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk of amputation of the lower limb. Foot ulceration is primarily responsible for foot amputation in diabetics. However, amputation can be prevented by identifying diabetic foot ulcer at the early stage and initiating appropriate treatment for diminishing the risk of developing complications following ulceration of the foot.
As untreated diabetes damages the peripheral nerves in the legs and feet, diabetics are less likely to sense pain in the foot following injury or ulceration. As a result, they do not seek treatment at the early stage of ulceration. In most cases, diabetics become aware of ulceration only at the advanced stage of the infection when foul smelling discharge oozing from the infected wound dampens the footwear. Aggressive foot care and keeping the blood glucose level under control can minimize the risk of amputation.
How to Prevent Amputation of Diabetic Foot
Check Your Feet Daily
Thoroughly inspect your feet each day, especially the bottoms of the feet and between the toes. Promptly inform your doctor if you notice any sores, blister, swelling, cut, redness or tenderness in the feet.
Practice Proper Foot Hygiene
Risk of ulceration can be minimized by maintaining appropriate foot hygiene. Daily wash your feet with lukewarm water and soap. To diminish the risk of calluses, gently rub the bottoms of the feet with pumice stone. After washing your feet, gently dry them. As infections are more likely to occur on the moist areas, dusting your feet, especially the areas between the toes, with a small amount of cornstarch or talcum powder helps to absorb traces of water from the skin.
While it is necessary to keep the feet dry, excessively dry feet are prone to cracks, which aggravate the risk of diabetic foot infections. Cracked heels can be preventing by applying a moisturizing lotion on both the surfaces of the feet.
Wear Appropriate Socks
Always wear socks made of natural fibers such as cotton. They support air circulation and absorb sweat from the skin. Do not wear socks with elastic bands that fit tightly to the skin. By impairing blood circulation, they worsen diabetic foot problems.
Wear Proper Shoes
Select orthopedic footwear. Avoid high-heeled shoes. Risk of injuries can be avoided by wearing proper footwear even indoors.
Carefully Trim Toenails
Improper trimming of toenails may cause injuries. There should not be any sharp edges. Seek the help of a podiatrist or caregiver to understand the appropriate process of trimming toenails.
Annual Diabetic Foot Check Ups
At least once a year, you must visit a podiatrist or doctor for a thorough foot check up. If you have a higher risk of developing foot ulcers, you may need frequent check ups. Moreover, seek professional help for removing corns, calluses, warts and bunions.
Seek Prompt Treatment for Foot Injuries
Diabetics should not ignore even minor foot injuries or sores. Immediately contact your doctor if a wound or sore does not heal within a few days.
Manage Blood Sugar Level
Along with proper foot care, diabetics should take steps to maintain their blood sugar level in the normal range with appropriate diet, medications, regular exercises and healthy lifestyle.