May 26, 2018
Whether you are concerned about diabetic amputation risk factors or are concerned about future risks post-amputation, researching the topic can feel overwhelming.
You will find that there is an amputee support group in Arkansas and in other areas to answer many of your questions. But additional information can help you to understand some critical connections between diabetes and amputation risks.
1. Diabetes is responsible for 60 percent of all non-injury-related amputations.
In fact, when diabetes-related complications are factored in, the number climbs to a staggering 67 percent. As you might have guessed, most of these were lower-extremity amputations. Specifically, the procedures were partial-foot amputations.
2. While the majority of non-traumatic amputations are related to diabetes, that does NOT mean that most diabetics will require amputations.
This statistic is an important one to remember. In fact, fewer than 1 percent of diabetes patients will ever need any type of amputation. The key to staying in that 99.75 percentile is following your doctor’s instructions for managing your diabetes. If you have developed lower extremity circulation problems because of your diabetes — or if your diabetes complicates another circulation condition – it is crucial to take extra-good care of your feet and legs.
3. Foot checks are an important part of amputation prevention, and to prevent additional amputations.
Along with getting plenty of cardio exercise, toe-wiggling and ankle rotation throughout the day is an essential part of foot health for people with diabetes-related circulation issues in their lower extremities. Clothing your feet in thin, quick-drying socks is also important. Make sure to change them frequently if your feet sweat or if you get caught in soggy conditions. In addition, it is important to examine your feet carefully to stop any early problems in their tracks. These are warning signs to look for during foot self-checks:
- Blisters, redness or discoloration, open wounds and blisters during a visual exam.
- If your feet cannot register hot or cold during temperature checks. Use common sense with the temperature extremes you use. You do not want to injure your foot on something too hot or cold if you do not feel the sensation!
- If your feet do not feel light touches, such as a feather, during sensation checks.
4. Diabetic amputation does not automatically “cure” problems in lower extremities.
In fact, ulcers and other skin problems, coupled with new weight distribution challenges, can require further amputation. Obviously, this is a distressing thought to people who have already experienced partial foot amputation or other procedures. That is why it is crucial to stay on top of problems and make sure to follow directions from your medical and prosthetic team as closely as possible.
If you are looking for an amputee support group in Arkansas, or need more information about lower limb prosthetics in Arkansas, contact Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics by calling (501) 683-8889. Our dedicated team can give you information about taking care of both the practical and emotional factors related to diabetic amputation or post-amputation needs.