The Risk of Limb Loss is Real for Diabetics

The state of Ohio has officially declared April to be Limb Loss Awareness Month. This is important to us at Foot and Ankle Associates of Cleveland. We want to help our patients learn about the risks of losing a toe or a foot.

Who’s most at risk for limb loss?

Our patients who are most at risk for amputation have diabetes. For them, the danger is high and very real. They have to be extremely cautious when something is wrong with their feet.

Let’s compare a simple cut on the foot of a diabetic vs. a non-diabetic. Chances are good that the non-diabetic will heal without a problem. But in people with diabetes, that cut can quickly develop into a sore that won’t heal. The wound, also called an ulcer, can reach deep into the foot, affecting the tissue and muscles well below the surface of the skin. Ulcers are extremely vulnerable to infection.

Here’s what diabetics can do to lower their risk of limb loss:

  • Keep your feet clean by washing them with soap and water every day.
  • Inspect your feet daily. Notice any changes in shape, skin color, or nail color. Is anything numb? Are there any other changes? Report them to our office immediately.
  • Carefully watch any cuts or scrapes. If they’re not healing, contact our podiatry office immediately for prompt, professional wound care.
  • Never try to treat a corn or callus at home. Doing so could cause an injury that leads to an ulcer.
  • Wear protective shoes specifically made for diabetics.
  • Never go barefoot.

Other causes of limb loss

Diabetic ulcers are the leading cause of lower limb loss. There are others, however, the most important of which are smoking and cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, have diabetes, or suffer from heart disease, avoid needless amputations by visiting our expert podiatrists at the first sign of foot trouble. Residents of Cuyahoga, Geauga, Portage, and Summit counties can make an appointment with Dr. Megan L. Oltmann or Dr. Craig B. Frey at our modern podiatry office in Solon, Ohio. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or visit us online.