Preventing dangerous foot ulcers

Published: Jun. 6, 2018 at 10:38 AM CDT
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Diabetics are advised to take good care of their feet.

Serese Cole tells us one reason why that's so important in this month's Health Check.

For the average baseball fan - the one thing better than hearing the crack of the bat - is seeing it in person.

Even better than that - watching your grandson at the plate.

"He's a pretty good player," Don Tighe shared.

As much as loves the game, Don Tighe has had a tough time getting to them - because of an injury his dog actually discovered.

"My dog started licking on my sock one day," Tighe explained.

When Don took that wet sock off - he found a pretty bad sore.

"I don't remember ever injuring it," Tighe said.

He went to Fremont Health's Dr. Chuck Halverson to get his toe checked out.

That sore is actually a diabetic foot ulcer.

Fifteen-percent of diabetics get them.

But because people with diabetes can lose sensation in their feet - they may not even know they have them.

"Until they possibly feel ill or nauseated. We'll occasionally see people who come in and say, 'I don't know what's going on - but the top of my foot is red and we look at the bottom and there is a sore.' "

Left untreated, those ulcers are dangerous.

"The jeopardy is not only infection but antibiotics, (and) hospitalization, but it can even open up the door and lead to amputation," said Dr. Halverson.

There is something you can do to make sure it doesn't get to that. Check your feet. Not just every now and then, but every day. You can start by grabbing a mirror, said Serese Cole.

"Take a little hand mirror, throw it on the floor and put your foot over it so you can see the bottom part of your foot," Dr. Halverson explained. "They're looking for calluses, any signs of blistering - a redness, anything that looks potentially abnormal. Also if they see anything - it is very important that they come in and they see somebody."

After about six weeks of treatment, Don's toe is on the mend.

"I still take the cane.... but I'm making it to my games and that's all that matters to me,"

There are some other actions diabetics can take to prevent foot ulcers.

First, wash your feet often. When you do, make sure to dry the area between your toes - well. Also, unless you're sleeping - wear your shoes to avoid injuring your feet.

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