Don't Gross Me Out!

Household accidents can have serious implications.

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

NOTE: The following is not meant to scare you, but for you to realize these things can and do happen. We at dLife want you to prevent complications of diabetes.

When I ask people with diabetes what they are most afraid of, many say, "I don't want to lose my feet." I say to them as I say to you now…"Great! You don't have to." For the most part amputations are preventable. If you follow The Do's and Don'ts of Foot Care you should do just fine.

Let's look at one of the recommendations, with an example of a situation where someone didn't follow the guidelines all people with diabetes are taught to do.

Foot Amp Joy0408 Foot Care Recommendation: Never walk barefoot, either indoors or out.

Most people know they aren't supposed to go barefoot. What many don't understand is that this includes when they are at home. So I always ask my patients if they go barefoot at home. Many say yes. I then tell them that most accidents happen at home.

Jane is a patient of mine. She didn't take care of her diabetes. She didn't change her unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one. She would come to the class, she would listen, but she didn't change, because she, like so many others, never thought anything would happen to her.

One evening, while preparing dinner, she opened her freezer. Out plopped a frozen package of meat on her bare foot. This caused a wound that didn't heal. In time her toe, then her foot, then her lower leg, and then her entire leg was amputated. Yes, that's how amputations usually happen – in steps.

Could this have been prevented? Yes! If Jane had realized that many people who have complications are like her, they don't think anything will happen to them either, so they don't take their diabetes seriously. They don't make the changes they need to manage their diabetes. Manage your diabetes includes managing your blood glucose, blood pressure, lipids, and following foot care recommendations. Had her numbers been closer to the normal range, it may have been easier for her initial wound to heal. And, if she had been wearing shoes at home that protected her feet, no wound would have happened in the first place.

You may think this is gross, but it's true. So, don't gross me out, protect your feet wherever you are!


Read Joy's bio here.

Read more of Joy Pape's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

NEXT: Don't Gross Me Out: Part 2

Last Modified Date: July 08, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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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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