Although I don't, fortunately, suffer with diabetes calluses, I do have dry skin which sometimes creates sores on my toes making it difficult to walk, which is why this article interested me. The experiences of the patients in the quoted case studies highlights important ponts about how to care for our feet.
Most Diabetics Suffer From Calluses
According to the American Diabetes Association National Fact Sheet, 2005:
• Diabetes is the #1 reason for non-traumatic limb amputations
At the 2006 ADA Expo in Utah, The Educational Institute For Healthy Feet had its first booth and conducted a market survey of diabetic participants. We received responses from participants ages 5 to 82. Note the high number of respondents from the age group 51-60 as shown.
Age Percent of Respondents
Being in the business of “healthy foot care,” we are concerned about the risks people take by not treating common foot problems. In our survey, we concentrated on collecting data about foot calluses, cracks, and calluses with cracks. We found the survey to be quite astonishing considering the data from the American Diabetes Association relating to limb amputations and that 82,000 people are at risk annually.
Considering the statistics from our survey, information about the high risk of limb amputation from the ADA, and the fact that of the 185 people we surveyed 81% had some type of insurance, why were 64% of our respondents still suffering from calluses and/or cracks on their feet that are potentially life threatening? Drawing on 13 years of foot work experience, we propose the reasons may be:
1. Lack of education: The most common response is “I have dry skin and I should do something about it, but I do not know what to do.”
Let’s take a look at each of these reasons.
1. Lack of education. We had the opportunity to go with a client to her foot care appointment and we asked her doctor if he would participate in an experiment. Marie had been going to the same doctor for over 15 years with dry calluses and cracks. The doctor would wet down the calluses with a disinfecting solution and then use a scalpel to shave off the calluses. He would then wrap her feet in tape so that Marie could walk out of the office. This procedure was done every 4 to 6 weeks with the calluses always coming back. Marie said that the procedure was painful. She became allergic to the tape and was unable to continue having her feet wrapped. This meant that she was in pain every time she walked for at least 3 days after each procedure. With the doctor’s consent, we decided to compare results of our foot treatment against that of the doctor’s standard treatments. We took care of Marie’s worse foot that had cracks and calluses. The doctor treated the other foot, which had only calluses. After 6 weeks and three callus treatments, the foot that the doctor had used the scalpel on was in worse condition than the foot that had a callus foot treatment. The doctor was amazed that the procedure and post-procedure were painless for the client. Interestingly, the doctor never instructed Marie to use moisturizing crèmes on her feet at home or any other type of home maintenance to help with her dry feet.
The statistics of our survey, with over 71% of the respondents suffering from calluses, and the 82,000 people who lose limbs annually to health-related amputation beg the question: why are not more diabetics seeking treatment from doctors?
2. Heredity. Some people claim that their families have always suffered from calluses, cracks, or dry feet. One of our clients, Ty, suffered from calluses most of his life. Because of the extreme calluses on his feet he was unable to try out for professional football. Although he was a great player in college, he was told that a team could not take on the liability of his feet. Ty’s grandfather, father, uncle, sister, nephews, and daughters all suffer from the same problem—wherever their feet have pressure (the toes, the ball of the foot, the side of the foot, or the heels) calluses appear, sometimes up to ¼ inch thick resulting in great pain. Ty’s father had surgery done in which a doctor cut the calluses and skin off almost to the bone. His feet were wrapped up and he had to stay off his feet for almost 6 months. The calluses came back. Although his doctors used scalpels, crèmes, and pills, the calluses always came back. We have been providing Ty with our special callus foot treatment with home maintenance and continued treatments and we continue to see marked improvement. When Marie’s doctor saw pictures of Ty’s feet he stated that his feet would be too difficult and that he would refer him to us.
Lori was another client who suffered from extreme callus buildup as did her sister and mother. After 3 treatments, the calluses and cracks were gone and now we are also treating her sister.
3. Hopelessness. It is understandable how; with 56% of clients that have gone to a doctor for a scalpel treatment and have had their calluses come back, finding a cure may seem like a lost cause. Our experience shows that when one cuts the skin or even shave off dry skin, the body reacts like it would to any other cut and starts to heal itself by growing replacement skin that is tougher and drier. If clients are not being instructed to have home maintenance or even to use a moisturizing crème on their feet, they will have reoccurring calluses and cracks.
There are amazing results happening daily—scalpels and blades, which are certainly dangerous for diabetics, are a thing of the past. The first and foremost issue is education for the client who has calluses or cracks needing immediate treatment. When we take care of the calluses, we can help diabetic clients on the road to walking with both feet again. Serious problems may starts with a small callus and can develop in to an open sore or ulcer. That is when there is the greatest likelihood for non-traumatic limb amputations. A healthy foot treatment alternative for calluses is now available with R3 Callus Foot Treatment. Let’s end the needless cycle of calluses and cracks through education, prevention, and effective treatments.
Leesa Myers, CEO The Educational Institute For Healthy Feet, developer of the R3 Callus Foot Treatment, Founder of the NECA and UAEA associations, author, expert witness for the State of Utah, and long time educator is a dedicated advocate in the industry of helping people. http://www.HealthyFootCare.com or email to Leesa@HealthyFootCare.com
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