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Simple Steps Safeguard Diabetics' Feet

Diabetes leaves feet vulnerable to infection, even amputation

SATURDAY, Nov. 4, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- The estimated 20 million Americans with diabetes need to remember that simple foot care can reduce their risk of toe, foot or leg amputations, say experts at the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).

People with diabetes are 10 times more likely to have a lower limb amputated than people who don't have the illness, which can cause poor blood circulation and nerve damage in the feet. This makes feet more vulnerable to ulcers, infections, deformities and brittle bones.

The ACFAS offers the following foot care tips for people with diabetes:

  • Inspect feet daily for injuries that could lead to dangerous ulcers.
  • Gently wash feet in lukewarm -- not hot -- water.
  • Moisturize feet but avoid the areas between the toes.
  • Never trim corns or calluses. Doing so can lead to serious infections.
  • Inspect the inside of shoes before you put them on.

At the first sign of trouble, see a doctor. Early treatment can prevent foot problems from worsening and reduce the risk of amputations.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month in the United States.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about diabetes and foot care.

SOURCE: American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, news release, October 2006
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