This week’s blogs have been about feet. Specifically, how to keep them strong, flexible and looking good–on the outside. However, like any other part of the body, keeping your feet truly healthy begins on the inside.
I was surprised to find the number of people in the United States that lose a lower limb due to the ravages of diabetes. For example, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), the following numbers were reported for lower limb amputations due to diabetes (you can check every state on the map by clicking on the APMA link):
Year State2002 Connecticut - 1,060
2003 Texas - 7,325
2006 Mississippi - 65,700
2009 California - 4,700
2009 New York - 2,820
2009 Illinois - 1,641
2009 Florida - 2,829
Why does this happen? Because diabetics often suffer from nerve damage in the feet that can lead to loss of feeling. Then, even a minor irritation like a blister or a callus can go unnoticed until it ulcerates and eventually becomes infected. Diabetics typically have bad circulation as well, which also inhibits healing. When left untreated, the infection may require the removal of the foot or entire lower leg.
The APMA urges diabetics to regularly see a podiatrist to maintain foot health, but for those of us without diabetes, the best form of action is to stay healthy and avoid diabetes altogether!! Losing a lower limb severely limits quality of life, makes it more difficult to stay healthy through exercise, and places a tremendous financial burden on everyone.
If you take care of your health, your feet will take care of you...