Chronic wounds affect approximately 8.2 million people in the United States, and 3.5 million suffer from diabetic foot ulcers. Preventing these ulcers is vital since it has been well documented that of all the lower extremity amputations in persons with diabetes, 85% are preceded by a foot ulcer.
April is Foot Health Awareness Month and a great reminder of the importance of foot health, common foot wounds, and available treatments to prevent amputations. At On Call Wound Care, we stress the importance of prevention rather than cure, and we recommend the following to avoid the development of foot ulcers:
- Examine your feet each day, using a mirror – if needed – to inspect the bottom of your feet for red spots, blisters, swelling, cracks, peeling, injuries, or dry skin. This is particularly important if you have diabetes to avoid a non-healing wound.
- Avoid soaking your feet but wash them daily and dry them with care, especially between the toes.
- Moisturize the skin of the feet with a cream or an ointment, including the heels but not the toes or in between the toes
- Trim your toenails as needed after you have washed and dried your feet, and if you have diabetes or suffer from peripheral vascular disease, we recommend having the toenails trimmed by a podiatrist or a foot specialist.
- Wear properly fitting shoes that do not rub or pinch your feet with a wide toe box.
- Always wear socks or stockings with your shoes, and never walk barefoot or while wearing just socks.
- Stay active and maintain a healthy weight. Consult your healthcare team to see which physical activity is suitable for you.
- Take off your socks at your next check-up and alert your doctor to any problems with your feet.