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Podiatrists urge diabetics to keep appointments despite pandemic

Neglecting regular foot care can lead to ulcers, infection and amputation.
Dr. Ramy Fahim
Dr. Ramy Fahim of NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers urges diabetics to maintain their foot care appointments despite the pandemic. (Contributed by NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers)

YOUNGSTOWN — Individuals with diabetes are more at risk for serious foot complications, some of which can lead to the loss of function in a limb or even amputation, especially when they’re not cared for in a timely manner. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, podiatrists across the nation have seen many patients with diabetes delay care due to fear of exposure to the coronavirus. Podiatric physicians at NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers are warning Mahoning Valley individuals with diabetes to keep their foot care appointments and take preventative measures to avoid nerve damage, diabetic ulcers or wounds, infections and amputation.

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 70 percent of people with diabetes suffer from diabetic peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage in the limbs, that can lead to the loss of feeling in the feet, preventing them from functioning properly.

Although nerve damage is not often reversible, those with diabetes who understand the symptoms and complications can take preventative measures to limit worsening conditions, such as ulcers. 

A diabetic ulcer is an open sore or wound that most commonly occurs on the bottom of the foot. Ulcers surface in about 15 percent of patients with diabetes. Of those who develop a foot ulcer, six percent will be hospitalized due to an infection or other ulcer-related complications.

“If a patient with diabetes ignores a wound or an infection, the possibility of amputation is very real,” said Dr. Ramy Fahim, a podiatric physician and surgeon at NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers in a news release. “It’s crucial for these patients to keep their appointments with all of their healthcare providers, including their podiatrists, who are taking extensive precautions to provide a safe environment.”

NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers is joining the American Podiatric Medical Association during November’s Diabetes Awareness Month to stress the importance of proper foot care through the APMA’s campaign, “Keep Your Appointment, Keep Your Feet.”

“Timely treatment will reduce the risk of infection and amputation,” Dr. Fahim said. “Treatment can also improve function and quality of life and reduce the likelihood of expensive medical care in the future.”  

NOMS Ankle & Foot Care physicians and the APMA are sharing the following ways for patients with diabetes to stay on top of their health.

  • Perform foot inspections at home daily (use a mirror to check the bottoms of feet).
  • Wear socks and shoes inside and outside of the house to prevent injuries.
  • Stay active and keep blood flowing by walking and moving around throughout the day.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet to help control blood sugar.
  • Keep appointments with all healthcare providers.
  • Stay in touch with your podiatrist and contact him/her immediately if you notice a change in color or temperature of your feet or sustain an injury.

To learn more about the campaign, visit www.apma.org/diabetes.

NOMS Ankle & Foot Care Centers has offices located in Alliance, Austintown, Boardman, Campbell, Champion, Columbiana, East Liverpool, Niles, Poland, Ravenna, Salem, Struthers, Warren and Youngstown.