If you have diabetes, you probably know the statistics -- at least a fourth of people with diabetes have foot problems. And diabetic foot ulcers, which usually happen on the bottom of the feet, lead to as much as 80 percent of the foot amputations in the United States. They are scary numbers, indeed.
Foot ulcers can begin because diabetic patients may have nerve damage in their legs and feet, making them unable to feel a small blister or wound when it first occurs. If they don't know about it, it can get larger and infected.
Here's EmpowHer's enclopedia information about diabetic foot ulcers, their symptoms, risk factors, and treatment:
A U.S. News & World Report article last year, however, talks about preventing diabetic foot ulcers. We meet 42-year-old Cornelius McGill, who only found his wound because his sock was soaked with blood (he feels no pain in his feet due to nerve damage). We follow his doctors as they attempt to save his life. While at one point they were preparing to amputate his leg, they ended up having to only amputate a toe. McGill felt very blessed indeed.
An excerpt from the article:
"Every 30 seconds, someone in the world is losing a limb to diabetes," says David Armstrong, a podiatric medicine specialist at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago and the surgeon who treated McGill. "I can't stress enough how sinister this disease is."
"But research indicates that most foot ulcers are preventable, and become deadly only when neglected, Armstrong says. Several studies, including one published in the American Journal of Medicine, have found that daily monitoring of skin temperature is an effective way to stave off ulceration in high-risk diabetics. Wounds heat up before skin breaks down, Armstrong explains. If patients detect an abnormality—a spot on one foot 4 degrees hotter than the corresponding spot on the other foot—conditions might be ripe for an ulcer. They may then decide to stay home rather than risk a day of walking, for example, or consult their doctor for more specific recommendations. In the latest trial led by Armstrong, patients using hand-held thermometers (specifically the $150 TempTouch) to track temperature differences between sites on their feet were three times less likely to develop ulcers than patients doing visual inspections alone.
"Another technique used off-label to prevent ulcers entails injecting small amounts of liquid silicone into the balls of the feet to replace eroding fatty tissue. Although the method still hasn't been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for this purpose, it's used for treating retinal detachment. By reducing the risk that a pain-free diabetic will walk right through his or her skin, advocates say, the procedure lowers the likelihood that ulcers will form.
"It's criminal it's not approved," says Sol Balkin, 82, a retired podiatrist
and pioneer in using injectable liquid silicone to treat foot ailments. He estimates that in 40 years of practice he's administered more than 30,000 injections. Balkin and a U.S. company are currently working to gain approval to market this treatment in Europe.
You can read the entire article here:
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