Patients often ask how to prevent a diabetes foot amputation. More than 86,000 diabetes-related amputations are performed each year. It’s one of the most feared and extreme complications of the disease, but a daily habit of self-care can help you avoid it.
For most patients, serious foot ulcers and subsequent loss of the limb are among the most preventable diabetes complications. However, diet alone likely won’t be enough. Even patients who maintain control of their blood sugar can still develop foot ulcers.
Problems often begin with neuropathy, which can cause loss of feeling in the bottoms of the feet. With the body’s natural pain response inhibited, simply walking throughout the day can allow a sore or ulcer to develop. If a small pebble or other object becomes trapped inside the shoe, the damage by day’s end can be extreme.
Around 7 in 10 diabetes patients experience nerve damage that impairs feeling in their feet. Among those who develop ulcers, 1 in 4 will eventually need an amputation.
If you’ve experienced loss of feeling in your feet, it’s especially important to adopt a daily habit of inspecting your feet.
Although open wounds can be treated, prevention is always the best way to avoid further complications.
Daily self-exams of the feet are by far the best protection against a diabetes amputation. Catching small cuts, blisters, or scrapes before they become infected is the key to preventing painful ulcers which can lead to traumatic complications.
Follow these additional steps to reduce your risk:
- Keep blood sugar in check
- Stick to your medication and exercise regime
- Wash feet daily in lukewarm water and dry carefully
- Choose comfortable shoes with a roomy toe box
- Wear clean socks that aren’t too bulky
- Shake pebbles or bits of gravel out of shoes before wearing
- Seek immediate treatment for cuts and sore spots that aren’t healing
While preventing infections in the feet is vital to keeping your feet healthy and functional, it’s important to remember that complications can still develop in some cases that will necessitate amputation. If blood circulation is lost, and surgery isn’t effective at restoring healthy blood flow, amputation may be recommended.
In the event that you must undergo a diabetes foot amputation, it is important to choose a skilled surgeon experienced with treating diabetic patients. Choosing a proven and highly recommended Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon can help to ensure a speedy recovery and that you can take advantage of the most advanced prosthetic options.
When it comes to foot care, preventing an amputation is always the first choice. Dr. Pereira helps patients adopt healthy habits so that they can avoid unnecessary pain and complications. If amputation becomes necessary, Dr. Pereira’s goal is always to get each patient on the fast-track to recovery so that they can return to living the lifestyle they love.
If you have any questions about caring for your feet or avoiding complications of diabetes, please get in touch. We’re here to help.