Your feet are your foundation and here are some tips for better foot health
Whether you’re working long, hot days in boots or walking the lakeshore in flip flops, your feet deserve some extra tender loving care this summer and all year long. This is especially important if you suffer from conditions such as diabetes or vascular disease, which can lead to chronic foot and leg wounds.
A chronic wound is a wound that is hard to heal or does not heal within four weeks. Along with slow healing, the wound may show signs of inflammation such as redness, pain, hotness or swelling. While chronic wounds are more common in older adults, a person with diabetes is more at risk for foot ulcers. These ulcers can form due to irritation such as friction or trauma. However, because of poor circulation and lack of feeling in the feet, the ulcers may go unnoticed.
While a person with diabetes needs to take extra precautions when caring for their feet, below are general tips so every member of your family can put their best foot forward this summer:
• Each day, check your feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, blisters, sores or other injuries.
• Wash and dry your feet each day, checking between the toes.
• After you properly clean and dry your feet, trim your toenails as needed.
• Wear properly fitting shoes that do not rub or pinch your feet.
• Always wear socks or stockings with your shoes.
• Avoid walking barefoot or in socked feet.
• Increase circulation in your feet by exercising.
• Don’t be afraid to talk to your primary care provider about your feet at your next check-up.
“Chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers, can lead to hospitalization and even amputation if not properly treated,” said Quyen Ha, M.D. “Unfortunately, it affects millions of patients in the United States. But just by taking the proper precautions and paying closer attention to your feet and legs, you can greatly reduce your risk.”
Specialized centers in foot care can focus on the healing process of complex or hard-to-heal wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers, burns, skin tears, post-surgical incisions and radiation injuries. Some also offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which works by surrounding the patient with 100 percent oxygen to help progress the healing of the wound.
Chronic, hard-to-heal wounds are a growing problem among our aging population and often affect those who suffer from diabetes or obesity.
For those with certain health conditions, untreated wounds can lead to serious health complications and even amputation. If you are suffering from hard-to-heal wounds, your physician can refer you to a wound care specialist, if needed.
Alicia Agent is the director of marketing and communications for Baptist Health-Fort Smith, Baptist Health-Van Buren and affiliated clinics in Arkansas. She may be reached at (479) 441-5078 or visit BaptistHealthFortSmith.com.