The Comprehensive Wound Care Center at Griffin Hospital recently gave free diabetic foot screenings to 15 individuals from the community.

Podiatrist Dr. Luke Jeffries, of Yale Podiatry Group volunteered to conduct the screenings along with members of the Comprehensive Wound Care Center. Three individuals were referred to podiatrists for follow-up tests.

Most of the participants were diagnosed with diabetes for more than five years. The clinicians conducting the screenings discovered that none of the participants had received education on proper foot care prior to the screening.

“We were more than a little surprised that none of the participants had been educated on the importance of good foot care,” said Liza Mecca, BA, RRT, AE-C, director of the Wound Care Center. “All of the people we screened were very happy to learn about foot hygiene, how to select proper-fitting shoes, and how to inspect their feet.”

Foot problems are common with diabetes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause damage to blood vessels and peripheral nerves that can result in peripheral artery disease and peripheral neuropathy.

Due to the decreased sensation from nerve damage and the lack of oxygen being delivered to the feet, people with diabetes have an increased risk of ulcers as well as bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, fungal infections, dryness of the skin, and ingrown toenails. These problems are not specific to diabetes, but can occur more commonly due to the nerve and vascular damage. If these foot problems are not properly checked or treated, individuals may suffer from tissue death due to absence of blood circulation or a life-threatening bacterial infection.

Diabetic foot screening can help determine risk factors early, and reduce amputations and ulcerations. Studies have shown that early detection and intervention may prevent up to 85% of amputations in diabetic patients.