Diabetes could be a debilitating condition for many people and poorly understood despite having an average of 537 million adults living with the condition. One of the main areas that require more awareness include footwear and diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease that puts you at an increased risk of nerve damage and reduced blood circulation to your feet. Nerve damage to the foot prevents you from feeling sensations and pain, and if you get cut, it might go unnoticed.
The story I’m going to mention below is a common occurrence and easily avoidable, if correct measures are applied. Since there is still a bit of the warmer weather to come, you might be thinking of making a visit to the beach in the next couple of days.
Taking a small walk down the shore barefoot, you could have stepped on a sharp rock and not have realised you have a small cut on your left big toe. You go for a few days without any issues. One day, walking barefoot, you notice traces of blood on the floor. After contemplating for a few minutes, you realise that your left foot is creating the spots on the floor. Upon examination of the foot, a gashing open wound is what you see, leaving you wandering, how you weren’t able to feel anything this whole time?
Impaired blood flow to your feet indicates poor wound healing. You go to the emergency and the doctors inspect your big toe and tell you that the wound is infected. They give you antibiotics, and give you a special shoe to wear. You come home and continue to walk barefoot because the special shoe makes you uncomfortable. You continue for a week and then start to feel unwell with a fever and body aches and you take some painkillers. After a few days your fever increases and you go back to the emergency. They tell you your big toe now has a bone infection and is not healing.
You spend the night at the hospital and are given IV antibiotics, more medications, seen by many specialists and surgeons, x-rayed and scanned, your big toe poked and probed multiple times, immobilised and confined to a bed. Next day a surgeon tells you that your big toe needs to be amputated to stop the spread of the infection. Within a couple of hours, you undergo invasive surgery and your big toe is amputated. After a few days you are in serious pain, on months of antibiotics, in the most uncomfortable foot device in the world and contemplating how you got to this state.
Is it worth going through all this trouble when all you had to do was wear your shoes to the beach?
Don’t leave things till the last minute. Visit our podiatrists for a thorough diabetes and footwear assessment if you are a diabetic and we can help you look after your feet.