Crozer-Keystone Health System Offers Foot Health Tips During National Foot Health Awareness Month
April is National Foot Health Awareness Month, a time when the experts at Crozer-Keystone Health System suggest taking a moment to stand up for your feet. According to the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society, the average person takes 10,000 steps each day, which adds up to more than three million steps per year.
Crozer-Keystone’s Centers for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicinetreat chronic foot and leg wounds that are often caused by underlying conditions such as diabetes and vascular disease. It is estimated that 25 percent of the 29.1 million people living with diabetes will develop a diabetic foot ulcer; without treatment, the wounds can lead to amputation or death.
Foot ulcers are the number-one complication in patients with diabetes. Christopher Barrett, D.P.M., medical director of the Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbolic Medicine at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, stresses just how dangerous a simple foot ulcer can be to someone with diabetes. “The 5-year survival rate for a diabetic with a foot ulcer is worse than for someone with breast cancer, prostate cancer or Hodgkin's Lymphoma,” he says.
“The reason patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of foot ulceration is because the disease increases the chance of poor circulation and numbness in the feet, which result in slow wound healing,” adds Bruce Greenfield, D.P.M., medical director of the Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “Foot ulcers affect 1 in 10 patients with diabetes, and 20 percent of these patients will end up with some form of lower extremity amputation. Therefore, prevention and healing of diabetic foot ulcerations are important factors in preventing lower extremity amputations.”
There are preventive measures everyone can do to improve foot health. Crozer-Keystone’s wound experts offer the following foot care tips:
- Check your feet for sores or other injuries every day. You may have an injury but cannot feel the pain.
- Wash your feet every day and dry them with care, especially between the toes.
- See your podiatrist for cutting and trimming your toenails.
- Wear properly fitting shoes that do not rub or pinch your feet.
- Always wear socks or stockings with your shoes, and never walk barefoot or while wearing just socks.
- Physical activity can help increase circulation in your feet. Consult your primary care doctor or cardiologist to see which physical activity is right for you.
Crozer-Keystone offers comprehensive wound care and leading-edge treatments – including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered skin substitutes, biological and biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies. The health system’s wound centers are located at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland and Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill.
For more information about how Crozer-Keystone’s wound professionals can help treat diabetic foot ulcers or chronic or infected wounds, visit crozerkeystone.org/Wound.