Diabetes awareness month – Wounds and complications

As diabetes awareness month comes to a close, let's spend some time talking about wounds. Earlier in the month we talked about the determination it takes to properly heal wounds complicated by diabetes. Because of complicating factors, this is definitely an area where ‘an ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure'.

By examining your feet daily for changes in color, texture, and temperature, you can detect problems early and seek appropriate intervention. There is actually a lot of ongoing research within the podiatry field to assess or predict wounds before they occur. This research attempts identifying ‘hot spots' or areas under increased stress, so that your podiatrist can put you in specialized footwear or inserts to stop the problem before it occurs.

Examining your feet daily is doubly important if you have any neuropathy of sensation loses. When you lose the ability to feel pain, a small cut or splinter can go unnoticed and quickly lead to infection. Infections that are undetected can easily invade the muscle and bones. If the infection becomes septic, or reaches your blood, you may experience nausea, fever, chills or vomiting for which you must go immediately to the hospital. The sooner you see a podiatrist or make a trip to an appropriate medical facility the quicker steps can be taken to limit the damage and put you on the path to recovery. Delays in treatment, especially when infection is involved, can result in surgery and amputations.

We would encourage everyone who has diabetes or is close to someone who has it to join the American Diabetes Association. The ADA offers plenty of resources and helpful advice. One such recommendation is yearly foot check-ups with a podiatric physician. Regular healthcare can help you avoid many of the complications we've mentioned. We at AFAS are calling all to action by continuing to learn about and be aware of diabetes.

Stay tuned next month as we discuss holiday travels and some the things you should keep in mind. Until next time, keep those feet happy and healthy, Austin!

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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