Diabetes is one of the leading causes of amputation of the lower limbs throughout the world. Diabetes UK notes that problems of the foot are the most frequent reasons for hospitalisation amongst patients who have diabetes. There are more than 20 leg, foot or toe amputations each day due to diabetes. This is shocking, especially as four out of five of these amputations are preventable.
The NHS reports that people who have diabetes are 15 times more likely to undergo amputations than other people without the condition. This is due to the damage that raised blood sugars can cause to circulation and sensation. Diabetic foot complications are more common amongst the elderly and amputation rates do increase with age. For people over 75 years old, the risk does increase considerably. Many hospital visits due to diabetes-related foot problems are preventable through simple foot care routines.
All people who have diabetes should have a basic education in foot care, and beyond this they should have regular foot examinations. At least once a year people with diabetes are offered a foot check, this would usually be at their GP surgery and forms part of the annual diabetes review.
Diabetes UK have also developed a quick and easy test that can be done in your home, this is called ‘Touch The Toes Test’. It is designed to assess the level of sensitivity in the feet which is vital because if there is impaired sensitivity minor damage may not be noticed and if left untreated could become infected. If it appears following the test that you may have impaired sensation it is imperative you contact your GP and ask for a full foot examination as it may be necessary for you to be referred to a diabetes podiatrist or specialist foot clinic depending upon the severity.
They will offer expert advice about how to look after your feet and how to prevent any problems from getting worse. You will work on a personalised care plan detailing any treatment required and will be followed up every one to three months by the local podiatry service.
If you would like to speak to a member of our personal injury team call us on 01616 966 229.
By Sam Ord, claims handler in the personal injury team