Every year, over 200,000 amputations unrelated to traumatic injury take place in the United States, and most of these are due to complications from diabetes. In fact, every single day at least 230 Americans with diabetes undergo amputation.
Diabetes increases your risk of circulatory issues and peripheral artery disease (PAD). These conditions all make it easier for foot infections to go unnoticed and make foot amputation a real and present threat for anyone affected by them.
At New Canaan Podiatry, board-certified podiatrist Jennifer Tauber, DPM, helps patients in New Canaan, Connecticut, avoid the need for foot amputation with her highly specialized amputation prevention and diabetic foot care services.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or PAD, keep reading to learn how you can prevent the need for foot amputation and maintain your mobility for years to come!
1. Pay attention to your feet
The number one way you can help prevent the need for foot amputation is by paying attention to the health of your feet. Just like you brush and floss your teeth every day, make checking your feet a habit. Staying on top of your foot health could save your feet.
In addition to looking for cuts, blisters, and other wounds, be sure to check for feet that feel especially warm or have areas of skin that look thin or broken or if your feet feel numb or tingly. You’ll also want to wash your feet every day and make sure to keep your toenails trimmed.
Be sure to share any changes to your feet with Dr. Tauber sooner rather than later to stop complications from developing.
2. Wear the right kind of shoes
One of the easiest ways to protect your feet is by wearing the right kind of shoes. If you have PAD or diabetes, wearing well-fitting footwear is essential to keeping your feet healthy and avoiding the wounds, calluses, and blisters that increase your risk of foot amputation.
Dr. Tauber and the team at New Canaan Podiatry have experience helping diabetics and patients with PAD find the right shoes for their feet. From diabetic shoes to customized inserts, we can offer advice and recommendations to ensure you have the best shoes for your feet.
3. Be proactive about your blood sugar
If you have diabetes, being proactive and keeping your blood sugar under control is important when it comes to avoiding foot amputation. Studies have found that keeping blood sugar controlled is linked to the prevention of nerve damage that increases your risk of amputation.
While it’s important to check your blood sugar regularly and take insulin and other medications as directed by your healthcare team, it’s just as important to make necessary lifestyle changes that help manage your blood sugar, such as:
- Eating a diabetes-friendly diet based on whole plant foods
- Avoid beverages and foods with added sugar
- Practice healthy stress management
- Exercise for 30-60 minutes each day
- Keep an eye on your blood pressure
- Maintain a healthy body weight
By taking control of your blood sugar, you can help avoid losing your foot due to complications related to diabetes.
4. Increase blood flow to your feet
Many times, foot amputations result due to a lack of sufficient blood flow to your limb or foot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is one of the leading causes of restricted blood flow for diabetics.
While all people should avoid tobacco products to promote better health, it’s especially important if you’re diabetic or have PAD. In addition to quitting smoking, be sure to get in regular exercise to improve your circulation. For instance, something as simple as a short daily walk can have a dramatic impact on the health of your feet.
5. Get professional foot care
For patients with an elevated risk of foot amputation, it’s important to get routine foot care from an experienced podiatrist. Podiatric doctors have special training in foot concerns related to diabetes and PAD, two conditions that increase your risk of foot amputation.
If this describes you, Dr. Tauber and the team at New Canaan Podiatry recommend following the guidelines from the American Diabetes Association and scheduling exams twice a year. This helps us catch any issues early and reduces your risk of foot amputation in the future.
Learn more about preventing foot amputation by contacting Dr. Tauber and the team at New Canaan Podiatry. Schedule by calling our New Canaan, Connecticut office at 203-263-9052. You can also book an appointment online at your convenience.