Disrupt the curve of amputations.
Diabetes is the single greatest factor in amputations—more than 60 percent of non-traumatic lower limb amputations happen in the diabetes population. An individual who has had an amputation has a worse chance of five-year survival than someone with coronary artery disease, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. Amputations in the United States are also substantially more prevalent among people of color.
To address this crisis, the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) has established the Amputation Prevention Alliance in partnership with innovators, clinical experts, leading health foundations, leaders in the diabetes community, policymakers, and provider groups. Our mission is to disrupt the curve of amputations among low-income and minority individuals with diabetes.
What Is Peripheral Artery Disease?
People with diabetes can develop many different foot problems. Even ordinary problems can get worse and lead to serious complications. People with diabetes are far more likely to have a foot or leg amputated than people without diabetes.
Foot problems most often happen when there is nerve damage, also called neuropathy. This can cause tingling, pain (burning or stinging), or weakness in the foot. It can also cause loss of feeling in the foot, so you can injure it and not know it. Poor blood flow or changes in the shape of your feet or toes may also cause problems.
Many people with diabetes have peripheral artery disease (PAD) (which reduces blood flow to the feet) and neuropathy. Together, these problems make it easy to get ulcers and infections that may lead to amputation.
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Diabetes & Your Feet
Most amputations are preventable by checking your feet daily, going to regular visits with your doctor, and wearing proper footwear.
The connection between diabetes and your feet is important because diabetes can cause nerve damage and reduced circulation, ultimately leading to limb loss and other complications. The good news is, you can lower your chances of complications by managing your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels and taking care of your feet.
For these reasons, take good care of your feet and see your doctor right away if you see any signs of foot problems. Ask about prescription shoes that are covered by Medicare and other insurance. Always follow your doctor’s advice when caring for ulcers or other foot problems
Foot Check Tips and Techniques
When you have diabetes, caring for your feet is very important in avoiding serious foot complications. Take care of your feet by doing the following:
- Wash your feet thoroughly everyday
- Dry them thoroughly, and don’t forget to dry between your toes
- Moisturize your feet, but avoid moisturizing between your toes
- Keep your toenails trim and use an emery board to file down sharp edges
- Check your feet for sores, cuts, blisters, corns, or redness daily. Let your doctor know if you find any of these.
- Wear moisture-wicking socks
- Before putting your shoes on, check for sharp objects (i.e., small rocks)
- Wear shoes that fit well and don’t rub your feet
- While you’re at it, avoid these:
- Walking around barefoot
- Soaking your feet