FHC wound specialist offers tips for diabetics during National Foot Health Month
ROCKINGHAM – April is National Foot Health Awareness Month and the perfect time for the nearly 24 million Americans living with diabetes to stand up for their feet.
“As part of their daily routine, diabetics should make proper foot care and foot inspections as much a priority as checking their blood glucose levels,” says Leslie Salloum, M.D., medical director of the FirstHealth Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that comprehensive foot care programs can reduce amputation rates by 45 to 85 percent. In an effort to reduce those rates, Dr. Salloum has the following advice:
- A daily visual inspection is needed since diabetes can cause changes in the skin on the feet as well as nerve damage that can impair sensation of feeling. Use an unbreakable mirror to see the bottom of your feet or ask someone to help you.
- Check your feet and between your toes for blisters, cuts and scratches.
- Have your feet examined during doctor visits and tell your doctor about any redness, blisters or wounds on your legs or feet.
- Don’t pull loose pieces of skin off your feet. See a health care professional to have them removed.
- Avoid crossing your legs: This can cause pressure on the nerves and blood vessels, possibly causing damage.
- Never go barefoot and always wear properly fitting socks made of cotton and wool. Change your socks daily and your shoes twice a day.
- Cut toenails straight across and don’t trim them too short. Use an emery board to smooth corners of toenails or ingrown nails.
- Seek medical treatment if a leg or foot wound has not healed in 30 days or shows signs of infection such as increased pain, redness or swelling, foul wound odor or a change in color or amount of drainage from the wound.
For more information about diabetes management and treating and preventing chronic wounds, contact (910) 417-3636.
FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital is a division of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.