(O’FALLON, IL) – April is National Foot Health Awareness Month and a time when experts at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Center for Wound and Hyperbaric Medicine suggest people take a moment to stand up for their feet. Right now, 6.7 million Americans are living with a chronic wound, and more than 2 million of those are suffering from a diabetic foot ulcer.
The center, which was recently recognized as a National Center of Distinction by Healogics, treats chronic foot and leg wounds that are often caused by underlying conditions such as diabetes and vascular disease.
Are your feet at risk? Some of the primary risk factors for wounds of the feet include neuropathy, deformity of the foot, history of foot ulceration, absent or diminished pulses and prior amputation.
Dr. Bryon Gorton, medical director of St. Elizabeth’s Center for Wound and Hyperbaric Medicine and member of HSHS Medical Group, encourages the following preventive steps everyone can take to improve foot health:
Check your feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, blisters, sores or other injuries daily.
Wash your feet every day and dry them with care, especially between the toes.
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.
Maintain appropriate toe nail length, which may require care from a podiatrist.
Physical activity can help increase circulation in your feet. Consult your health care team to see which physical activity is right for you.
“In addition to taking preventive steps, it is also important to regularly take off your socks at your check-ups and talk to your doctor about any foot concerns,” encourages, Gorton.
For more information on the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers or wound care, contact HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Center for Wound and Hyperbaric Medicine by calling (618) 234-2120, ext. 32742.