Did you know that the average person walks at least 10,000 steps each day? According to the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society, this amounts to over three million steps a year. April is National Foot Health Awareness Month, a time when we encourage you to learn about caring for a part of the body you use more than we know: your feet.
While foot health is important for everyone, it is especially important for those with diabetes. It is estimated that 25 percent of all diabetics will develop a diabetic foot ulcer, and without treatment, the wounds can lead to potential amputation. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, comprehensive foot care and treatments can reduce diabetes-related amputation rates by 85 percent.
“Working with your physician to help improve the health of your feet will ultimately improve your overall health and reduce your risk for foot ulcers and amputations,” said Dr. Ronald Brown, M.D., medical director of The Advanced Wound Care Center at Hillcrest Hospital South.
However, foot care is not just a health matter for diabetics. There are preventative measures everyone can take to improve foot health. The Advanced Wound Care Center at Hillcrest South shares a few useful foot care tips:
- Don't ignore your feet. Certain foot symptoms can indicate underlying health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and vascular diseases.
- Monitor changes that occur in your feet as you age. The foot and ankle may lose some of their normal range of motion and become stiffer while there can also be some loss of balance while walking.
- Examine the bottom of well-worn shoes for signs of excessive wear on the inner or outer sole. You might benefit from adding orthotic insoles in your shoes, which can help prevent sprains and stress factures.
- Get the daily requirements of calcium and vitamin D. The first sign of osteoporosis is often a stress fracture in the foot, so it is important to get nutrients needed to maintain strong bones.
- To maintain steady balance on your feet consider adding balance-training programs such as Tai Chi and yoga to your exercise routine.
- Have your feet examined during doctor visits. Tell your doctor about any redness, wounds or changes in your legs or feet.
- Seek medical treatment if you develop a leg or foot wound that shows signs of infection such as increased pain, swelling, odor or a change in color or amount of drainage from the wound.
Now is the perfect time to take the steps needed to maintain healthy feet. The Advanced Wound Care Center offers comprehensive wound care and leading-edge treatments including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered skin substitutes, biological and biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies. For more information about the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers or chronic or infected wounds, call 918-294-HEAL (4325).