For those passing Columbus City Hall this month, you may have noticed that the building has been lit in an unusual hue of blue. This special lighting has been put in place to raise awareness of diabetes as part of National Diabetes Month. Blue for awareness of diabetes is great, and preventing your toes from turning blue is one reason that diabetic foot care should be an integral part of the health of an individual with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Individuals with diabetes, are at an increased risk for a vast array of problems in the lower extremity.
Seemingly minor problems in an individual with diabetes can evolve much more rapidly than they would in a healthy individual to become a life threatening condition. Tinea pedis or athlete ’s foot is four to five times more prevalent in individuals with diabetes versus those without. This fungal foot infection can break down the skin, especially when it occurs between the toes, to allow bacteria to enter into the deep spaces of the foot and lead to more serious infection. Lower extremity infection and its sequelae have become the leading cause of hospitalization of diabetic patients. A variety of factors in diabetes lead to the development of serious infection in the feet. High blood sugar damages many tissues in the body including nerves, blood vessels and immune cells. Without healthy nerves, sensation is lost in the foot and wounds develop because the individual cannot feel the pain that healthy nerves would detect. When blood vessels are damaged, tissues normally supplied with blood and nutrients from these vessels die from lack of oxygen and gangrene occurs. When the immune cells are damaged, infection cannot be fought off. It is for all of these reasons that self-foot exams and regular lower extremity exams from your podiatrist are critical in stopping diabetic foot infections before they get the chance to progress.
In order to prevent ulcers and life and limb threatening infections, diabetic foot exams should be conducted once per year in an otherwise healthy diabetic individual. If upon routine exam, a patient is found to have diminished sensation or an absent pulse (indicating nerve and artery damage) a foot assessment should be conducted every three to six months. When a patient has these signs of nerve and artery damage along with calluses and deformities of the feet, such as bunions and hammer toes, they are at a higher risk of ulceration and should see their podiatrist every three months. Along with regular exams, other preventative measures such as custom orthotics or padding may be deemed necessary to reduce the risk of ulceration and possible need for amputation in the future.
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.
Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.