Friday, 5 October 2012

Care for Feet Every Step Of The Way

Care for Feet Every Step Of The Way

Foot Care Tips Help Prevent Complications of Diabetes

Care for Feet Every Step Of The Way
(ARA) - With winter just a few weeks away many people are starting to feel the itchy effects of dry skin, but for people with diabetes, dry skin is not simply a minor annoyance -- it may lead to more serious complications if not properly treated.

Severe dry skin may result in deep and painful cracks in the skin's surface, especially in the feet.

Approximately 60 percent of people with diabetes suffer from a complication called neuropathy, or nerve damage, and may not be able to feel those painful cracks on the soles of their feet. Left untreated, wounds may become infected and create greater complications.

More than 16 million Americans have diabetes, and each year more than 86,000 of them have amputations resulting from foot ulcers or chronic wounds, many of which begin as a small cut or blister.

Doctors estimate that nearly 50 percent of amputations may have been prevented through a combination of awareness, prevention and intervention.

"People with diabetes have the opportunity to significantly improve their condition by taking proactive measures to care for themselves," says Dr. Maria G. Dill, regional medical director for Curative Health Services and medical director at the Valley Baptist Wound Care Center in Harlingen, Texas. "Simple steps can be taken to prevent complications from arising."

The following preventive measures may help people avoid or minimize the severity of injuries, sores and infections to their feet:

Never walk barefoot.

Check feet every day for injury.

Wash feet daily in warm, soapy water.

Moisturize the soles of feet with unscented lotion immediately after bathing.

Avoid scented lotions, as they contain alcohol that may dry the feet.

Check shoes to make sure they are free of stones and sharp or lumpy objects, like a child's toy.

Wear loose socks in bed if feet are cold -- do not use hot water or heating pads to warm cold feet.

Make regular visits to a podiatrist.

Without proper treatment, injuries caused by neuropathy may become serious wound problems, resulting in chronic infections, gangrene and possibly amputation. More than 6 million people in the United States suffer from chronic wounds, which are commonly defined as wounds that show little or no improvement after four weeks of best practices, or do not progress toward healing in eight weeks. Curative Health Services (Nasdaq: CURE) operates a national network of more than 100 Wound Care Centers(R), which follow an interdisciplinary approach when treating patients suffering from chronic wounds. Nutrition, wound prevention, and education play key roles in all treatment plans. The program has healed more patients with chronic wounds than any other wound specialty program, and consistently averages a 90 percent patient satisfaction rate throughout the nation.

If non-healing foot ulcers occur, consult with a physician. For more information about foot care tips for people with diabetes or treatment for non-healing wounds, call the nearest Wound Care Center at (800) 991-HEAL (4325).


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