Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Amputations Can Be Sidestepped With the Right Footwear

By Candace Hoffman
WebMD Health News

Nov. 7, 2001 -- Complications from diabetes that can result in limb amputation could be prevented with the use of protective shoes or molded, custom shoe inserts, or orthoses. However, surveys have shown that many patients and their doctors do not take advantage of these devices -- or even know about them.

 

"Only about 73% of people knew that their [feet] could be a real problem," says Michael Pinzur, MD, quoting research he has published. "And only about 70%-73% had ever had their [feet] examined by anybody."

 

Pinzur's survey was handed out to 402 patients in endocrinologist's offices in five cities across the nation. The results highlight what the target for education of both physicians and patients should be, he says -- which is, of course, 100% awareness.

 

The survey also targeted about 25% of the population of people with diabetes who should be wearing some sort of protective footwear or orthoses to alleviate the strain and wear on certain parts of the foot.

 

In its publication Preventive Foot Care in People With Diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that amputations are often preceded by a "pivotal event." They cite shoe-related trauma, which causes ulceration, as the most frequent cause eventually leading to amputations. According to the ADA, wearing protective footwear could prevent this.

 

Pinzur, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at Loyola University in Maywood, Ill., says patient education is of utmost importance.

 

"In our university health system, every new diabetic, in addition to seeing the diabetic educator and dietician, all get referred to our diabetic foot nurse," he says. "She teaches [them] about the risks to their foot, types of shoes they should wear, kinds of things they should do and then she screens them [for a referral] to a podiatrist or an orthopaedic surgeon."

 

"Probably one of the most significant complications of diabetes would be the damage to nerves in feet and legs, and this results in the loss of protective sensation," Lee J. Sanders, DPM, tells WebMD. "Footwear for these individuals is extremely important."

Vital Information:

 

  • One of the most significant complications from diabetes is damage of nerves to the feet and legs, which can lead to limb amputation in a worst-case scenario.

  • Amputation can be prevented with the use of protective shoes or custom shoe inserts, devices that are covered by most insurance companies.

  • According to a recent survey, roughly one-fourth of diabetics were not aware that their feet could be problematic and had never had them examined.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article