September 18, 2015
Foot Exams Are Necessary for People with Diabetes
This is probably one of the better topics covered at the 2015 American Association of Diabetes Educators meeting. Many clinicians are still failing to perform foot exams at all clinical visits with their patients who have diabetes, and their feet are telling the story. Preventing diabetic foot disease begins with proper foot care.
Many doctors are being so pushed by the insurance companies to cut their time with patients that those patients needing the time for a foot exam are often completely overlooked. If you have a doctor that does this, always schedule ahead to know if the doctor will have the time or needs extra time for a complete foot and lower leg exam.
The above is important because if an amputation is needed because of poor foot care, your prognosis for a second amputation gets much higher and your life expectancy greatly decreases. These two facts should encourage you to get the foot exam.
“In 2010, about 73,000 of non-traumatic lower limb amputations, representing about 60% of all non-traumatic lower limb amputations, were performed in adults aged 20 years or older with diagnosed diabetes. And another study showed that 9% to 20% of people with diabetes who experience a lower limb amputation will undergo a second amputation within 12 months of their first surgery.”
“Additionally, 5 years after the first surgery, 28% to 51% of patients with diabetes who have undergone amputation will undergo a second amputation. Also, it is now estimated that up to 55% of patients who experience a lower extremity amputation will require amputation of a second extremity within 2 to 3 years.”
A simple lesion left untreated can lead to ulceration, infection, and amputation in a very short time span. However, one major problem is the fact that the feet of patients with diabetes are so often insensate that they may be unaware of the trauma they are experiencing until it's too late.
All the components of each patient's unique issues are essential for the proper selection and fitting of padded socks and shoes. Further, all patients with diabetes should be counseled about the importance of preventive foot health practices so they can take the proper steps to prevent foot pain and dysfunction farther down the road.