How To Avoid Amputations If You Have Diabetes
In people with diabetes, a trifecta of trouble can set the stage for amputations: Numbness in the feet due to diabetic neuropathy can make people less aware of injuries and foot ulcers. These ulcers may fail to heal, which can in turn lead to serious infections.
“Normally a person with an injury on the bottom of their foot, such as a blister, will change the way they walk. Your gait will alter because you are going to protect that blistered spot until it heals up,” says Joseph LeMaster, MD, an assistant professor at the University of MissouriColumbia School of Medicine.
“People with a loss of sensation don’t do that. They will just walk right on top of that blister as though it wasn’t there. It can burst, become infected, and turn into what we call a foot ulcer,” he says. “That ulceration can go right down to the bone and become an avenue for infection into the whole foot. That’s what leads to amputations.”
Foot injuries are the most common cause of hospitalizationsAbout 15% of all diabetics will develop a foot ulcer at some point and up to 24% of people with a foot ulcer need an amputation. You’re at extra-high risk if you’re black, Hispanic, or Native American. These minority populations are two to three times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites, and their rates of amputations are higher.
At the end of the 18-month study, about 5% of patients who used the thermometer developed a foot ulcer compared to 12% of patients who did not.
Contact An Experienced Dfw Podiatry Doctor
If you have diabetes and are concerned about complications, including amputation, contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for help. Our DFW podiatry doctor can answer any questions you may have and help create a treatment plan to address your specific needs. To request an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our convenient online contact form, or call our office today.
Join A Free Jardiance Farxiga Diabetes Amputation Class Action Lawsuit Investigation
If you qualify, an attorney will contact you to discuss the details of your potential case at no charge to you.
If you took Invokana or Invokamet, you do not qualify for this investigation. to join a separate class action lawsuit investigation.
PLEASE NOTE: If you want to participate in this investigation, it is imperative that you reply to the law firm if they call or email you. Failing to do so may result in you not getting signed up as a client or getting you dropped as a client.
E-mail any problems with this form to:
Diabetics may be at increased risk for developing several associated conditions, some of which may result in amputations or other serious surgical interventions. What are the Complications Associated… Read More
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Why Would Amputation Be Necessary
In some cases, diabetes can lead to peripheral artery disease . PAD causes your blood vessels to narrow and reduces blood flow to your legs and feet. It may also cause nerve damage, known as peripheral neuropathy. This could prevent you from feeling pain.
If you cant feel pain, you may not realize you have a wound or ulcer on your feet. You may continue putting pressure on the affected area, which can cause it to grow and become infected.
Reduced blood flow can slow wound healing. It can also make your body less effective at fighting infection. As a result, your wound may not heal. Tissue damage or death may occur, and any existing infection may spread to your bone.
If the infection cannot be stopped or the damage is irreparable, amputation may be necessary. The most common amputations in people with diabetes are the toes, feet, and lower legs.
Trim Your Toenails Straight Across
Trim your toenails, when needed, after you wash and dry your feet. Using toenail clippers, trim your toenails straight across. Do not cut into the corners of your toenail. Gently smooth each nail with an emery board or nonsharp nail file. Trimming this way helps prevent cutting your skin and keeps the nails from growing into your skin.
Have a foot doctor trim your toenails if
- you cannot see, feel, or reach your feet
- your toenails are thick or yellowed
- your nails curve and grow into the skin
If you want to get a pedicure at a salon, you should bring your own nail tools to prevent getting an infection. You can ask your health care provider what other steps you can take at the salon to prevent infection.
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Signs Of Diabetic Foot
People with diabetes have an increased risk of wounds that do not heal. This can potentially lead to necessary amputation, which is why daily foot checks can be the reason you can prevent this situation.
A person with diabetes should pay close attention to the following signs and symptoms:
- Warmth in one area of the foot
- A bad odor emanating from a wound
- A deep ulcer where the bone can be seen
- An ulcer lasting more than a week
- A sore that you notice does not quickly begin to heal
- Ulcers larger than three-quarters of an inch
If you see any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor or medical care provider to determine which actions are recommended. Treatment options will vary, depending on the severity of the issue.
A person with diabetes must check their feet regularly to identify any potential issues as early as possible. The goal is to identify and treat the condition before it becomes severe. Awareness is key to being able to receive treatment in time.
To read more about all symptoms of diabetes, see my article about symptoms of diabetes.
When Should I See My Health Care Provider About Diabetic Foot Problems
Serious foot problems can develop quickly. See your health care provider right away if you notice:
- A cut, blister, or bruise on your feet that doesn’t start to heal in a few days
- Red, warm, or painful skin on your feet
- A callus with dried blood inside
- A foot infection that becomes black and smells bad that could be gangrene
Remember, controlling your blood sugar and caring for your feet every day are the best steps you can take to prevent serious diabetic foot problems.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
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What Are The Risks Of Jardiance And Farxiga
In addition to increasing the risk of lower leg, foot, and toe amputations, Jardiance and Farxiga are also associated with several other serious side effects, including:
- Yeast infections
- Ketoacidosis, or increased ketones in your blood or urine
- Kidney damage
- Fourniers gangrene, or necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum
With the help of an attorney, diabetics who suffer from serious consequences associated with Farxiga or Jardiance may be able to pursue compensation for their injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of income or earning capacity, and other damages.
If diabetics lose their feet due to these medications, they may be entitled to additional compensation for permanent disability and disfigurement.
If you or a loved one experienced diabetes amputation after taking Jardiance or Farxiga, you may have a legal claim and may be eligible to seek compensation from the drug maker for your medical and other expenses. Fill out the form on this page now to see if you qualify!
Keep The Blood Flowing To Your Feet
Try the following tips to improve blood flow to your feet:
- Put your feet up when you are sitting.
- Wiggle your toes for a few minutes throughout the day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to help blood flow in your feet and legs.
- Do not wear tight socks or elastic stockings. Do not try to hold up loose socks with rubber bands.
- Be more physically active. Choose activities that are easy on your feet, such as walking, dancing, yoga or stretching, swimming, or bike riding.
- Stop smoking.
Smoking can lower the amount of blood flow to your feet. If you smoke, ask for help to stop. You can get help by calling the national quitline at 1-800-QUITNOW or 1-800-784-8669. For tips on quitting, go to SmokeFree.gov.
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People With Diabetes Can Develop Many Different Foot Problems Even Ordinary Problems Can Get Worse And Lead To Serious Complications
Foot problems most often happen when there is nerve damage, also called neuropathy. This can cause tingling, pain , or weakness in the foot. It can also cause loss of feeling in the foot, so you can injure it and not know it. Poor blood flow or changes in the shape of your feet or toes may also cause problems.
Take good care of your feet and see your doctor right away if you see any signs of foot problems.
What Happens If I Have Kidney Disease
Your healthcare provider will create a special treatment plan for you. This may include taking medicines, limiting salt and certain foods, getting exercise, and more. You will also need regular checkups to monitor your kidney function. Having kidney disease or diabetes does not mean your kidneys will fail. Finding and treating it early can help keep kidney disease from getting worse.
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What Things Should I Avoid To Care For My Feet
Don’t use any instruments on your feet without your doctor’s advice.
Don’t cut calluses or corns, or use medicine to remove them, unless your doctor tells you it’s okay.
Don’t soak your feet.
Don’t use hot water, a heating pad or a massager on your feet.
Don’t go barefoot.
Don’t use adhesive tape or chemicals on the skin of your feet.
Don’t put inserts or pads in your shoes without your doctor’s advice.
Don’t walk in wet shoes.
Don’t place your feet on cold or hot surfaces.
Don’t use any tobacco productsthey affect blood flow in ways that are especially dangerous to people with diabetes.
How Does Diabetes Affect The Health Of My Feet
Diabetes-related foot pain is mainly caused by high blood sugar levels. Over time, high levels of sugar in the blood damage both the nerve endings and blood vessels throughout the body. This combination causes nerve pain and poor circulation.
The feet are especially prone to poor circulation because theyre so far away from the heart. Diabetes-related nerve pain can appear in the hands, but most people who experience it feel it in their feet first.
Other factors that can increase your risk of developing diabetes-related foot pain include being overweight, kidney disease, and smoking.
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Where Can I Get More Information
The National Kidney Foundation has free booklets that provide more information about diabetes. Call the national toll-free number 855.653.2273 and ask for free booklets on diabetes. You can see these and other titles at www.kidney.org/store.
Date Reviewed: November 2014
If you would like more information, please contact us.
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Foot Care And Prevention Tips For Diabetics
Diabetic patients can help prevent foot/leg amputation by maintaining a healthy blood glucose level, eating a healthy diet, and exercising daily. Additionally, there are other ways to care for your feet that can help prevent amputation, including:
- Seeing a DFW podiatry doctor on a regular basis and at the first sign of any problem
- Doing daily checks of your feet looking for any signs of ulcers, wounds, infection, or other abnormalities
- Never going barefoot to reduce your risk of getting cuts or wounds on the bottoms of your feet
- Always wearing socks to protect your feet and to prevent blisters from forming
- Wearing shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support
- Washing your feet daily with a mild soap and drying them thoroughly especially between the toes
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Your First Days At Home
If the hospital sends you home after a few days, youâre off to a good start. That means your care team thinks youâre healing well and can take the lead on caring for yourself. To continue your progress, follow all your doctorâs instructions on bathing, activity, physical therapy, and caring for your wound.
If you feel pain, donât reach for whateverâs in your medicine cabinet. Take only what your doctor recommends, because some pain medicines, even basic aspirin, can raise your chances for bleeding.
Get Your Feet Checked Regularly
For type 1 diabetes
It is uncommon to have diabetic peripheral neuropathy within the first five years after diagnosis. Testing in adults should begin five years after the onset of type 1 diabetes.
For children with type 1 diabetes, testing should be done once the child is past puberty and has had diabetes for at least five years.
For type 2 diabetes
For people with type 2 diabetes, testing for diabetic peripheral neuropathy should begin right away at diagnosis of diabetes, and every year after that.
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Why Should I Worry About My Feet
People with diabetes often have foot problems. Part of the problem is that if you have any loss of feeling in your feet, it’s hard to tell if you have a blister or sore. Sores may take a long time to heal. If foot sores aren’t taken care of, you might get a foot ulcer . If the ulcer then gets infected, you may need to go to the hospital for treatment or even have part of your foot amputated . The good news is that with proper care you can help prevent foot problems.
How Can Diabetes Affect My Feet
Over time, diabetes may cause nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy, that can cause tingling and pain, and can make you lose feeling in your feet. When you lose feeling in your feet, you may not feel a pebble inside your sock or a blister on your foot, which can lead to cuts and sores. Cuts and sores can become infected.
Diabetes also can lower the amount of blood flow in your feet. Not having enough blood flowing to your legs and feet can make it hard for a sore or an infection to heal. Sometimes, a bad infection never heals. The infection might lead to gangrene.
Gangrene and foot ulcers that do not get better with treatment can lead to an amputation of your toe, foot, or part of your leg.A surgeon may perform an amputation to prevent a bad infection from spreading to the rest of your body, and to save your life. Good foot care is very important to prevent serious infections and gangrene.
Although rare, nerve damage from diabetes can lead to changes in the shape of your feet, such as Charcots foot. Charcots foot may start with redness, warmth, and swelling. Later, bones in your feet and toes can shift or break, which can cause your feet to have an odd shape, such as a rocker bottom.
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Foot Care Tips If You Have Diabetes
- You should have your feet checked as part of your annual diabetes review. You may be eligible for an NHS podiatrist if you have diabetes and symptoms affecting your feet such as numbness. Ask your GP for a referral or find a local podiatrist.
- Keep your feet clean and free from infection.
- Wear shoes that fit well and don’t squeeze or rub. Ill-fitting shoes can cause corns and calluses, ulcers and nail problems.
- Never walk barefoot, especially in the garden or on the beach on holidays, to avoid cuts and try to avoid sitting with your legs crossed so you don’t constrict your blood circulation.
- Cut or file your toenails regularly.
- Get corns or hard skin treated by a podiatrist.
What Exactly Are Diabetic Socks
Diabetic socks are close-fitting, yet lightweight socks created to help alleviate diabetic nerve pain in the feet. They do this without constricting or leaving marks on your skin that can lead to irritation or even worse diabetic nerve pain. Designed specifically to not dig into skin, diabetic socks are also great for swollen feet looking for a comfortable rest.
A high quality diabetic sock will have many of the following perks:
- A fit thats tight enough to say on, while staying loose enough to feel breathable and comfortable.
- Sturdy construction with as few seams as possible to minimize possible irritation.
- Made from a soft material that provides warmth to help promote proper blood flow, such as cotton.
- A special design to help relieve pressure on the legs and feet rather than constrict them.
- White or other light colored material in order to allow diabetics with decreased sensitivity in their feet to notice draining wounds or possible infections.
One of the most appealing parts about diabetic socks is that they often look just like regular socks. This means you can wear them incognito out to a restaurant, at work, or to a formal event. Nobody will know that you’re even wearing special socks unless you tell them. The downside to this is that you may have to stop your spouse and family from borrowing a pair and then never returning them because theyre so comfortable.
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How Can I Prevent Kidney Disease And Other Problems From Diabetes
Controlling blood sugar is the best way to protect your eyes, heart, nerves, feet, and kidneys. It lowers your risk for all health problems from diabetes. This is true for all people with diabetes with or without kidney damage. Ask your healthcare provider what you need to do to control your blood sugar.