Interview with Dr. Mark Hinkes, DPM, Author of Healthy Feet for People with Diabetes

Tips on caring for diabetic feet

Joy PapeBy Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN

Healthy Feet for People with Diabetes, a new book written by Dr. Mark Hinkes, DPM and published by HealthyFeet, LLC, is an absolute must read!

Dr. Mark Hinkes is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), more commonly known as a foot doctor or Podiatrist. What I love about his book is that he uses common terms anyone can understand to teach you how to take care of your feet and prevent complications from diabetes. His passion is prevention in foot health. Whether you have had, have, or are fortunate to never have had foot problems, his book can help you.

Dr. Hinkes was a guest on dLifeTV. I recently had the honor of interviewing him.

Joy: What do you think is the most important action people with diabetes should take to protect their feet?

Dr. Hinkes: No doubt about it, they must keep their blood sugar under control to benefit all aspects of their health. High blood sugars are the trigger to developing diabetic sensory neuropathy in the foot, otherwise known as Loss of Protective Sensation for Pain (LOPS). This means you lose your sense of feeling. Think of it this way. When you have your feeling, that feeling tells you to change positions. So, you may have cold feet. You put your feet near a space heater to warm them. When your feet start getting warm, or even hot, you move them. When you step on something hot, you move your foot so it doesn't get burned. When you lose your sensation, you are not able to protect yourself by moving your foot away. Another example is if you feel your shoes are too tight, or are rubbing a blister. You feel that, you change your shoes. When you lose this sense of feeling, you may wear these shoes too long, make that blister or feel sore. On and on it goes. Now add high blood sugars to that, which makes it tough to heal a wound.

Too many people with diabetes do not have appropriate education about their disorder. Education is the most critical piece to the puzzle of good health for people with diabetes. They must have education! My book fills in the space between what the doctor wants to say, but doesn't have the time to say it, and what the patient might wish to ask, but is afraid to ask.

Just look at the statistics from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Up to 80% of amputations in the diabetic population are preventable. We know with 100% certainty if your blood sugars remain high enough for long enough, you have a higher risk for amputations. Let's not go down that road. My book is a roadmap containing simple steps for a prevention program for anyone and everyone who has diabetes.

I think taking care of your feet as a triangle that consists of education, prevention, and healthy feet. It takes education to motivate one to design and follow a prevention program, which results in healthy feet. Simple.

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Last Modified Date: December 05, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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