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Many of us face issues with our feet from time to time that might cause pain or slow us down… but for people living with diabetes, proper foot care can be a matter of life or death.

Dr. Derek Barker, a podiatrist with Metro Health, talks about the growing concern.

1. We've heard about the incidence of Type II Diabetes being quite high and growing.

Why is Diabetic Foot Education So Important?

a. Diabetic Patients have significantly increased risk of undergoing Lower-Extremity Amputation compared to non-diabetic.

b. More than 50% of Lower Extremity Amputations are related to infected Wounds

2. What types of problems do diabetic patients have in regards to their feet.

a. Neuropathy (Disease of Nerves leading to decreased sensation in feet)

b. Pressure with Callus (Secondary to Mechanical Issues in Feet Bunions, Hammertoes, etc..)

3. What have you seen in your practice with regards to incidence and severity of diabetic foot wounds?

a. The patient population is now becoming younger with patients and foot complications secondary to their diabetes.

b. We are also seeing a more patients with both a neuropathy (Nerve Disease) and Vascular Disease (Lack of Blood Flow) along with Non-compliance making treatment more extensive.

4. What can patients do to be pro-active?

a. This is a true case of preventative measures really playing a role in decreasing complications. It is okay to seek additional information and help even if there is no problem presently.

b. Seek a referral to foot and ankle specialist from their primary care doctor.

c. Daily Foot Checks are also encouraged.

Dr. Barker practices at both Metro Health Comstock Park and Metro Health Hudsonville. You can reach him at (616) 252-3000.

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