Patients at the outpatient ward of the diabetology department of the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital will henceforth be screened for foot ulcers. A clinic has been set up for this purpose with a view to lower the risk of amputation.

Foot ulcers are common among diabetes patients, especially if they walk barefoot and end up with injuries. The injuries could be due to nerve damage or damage to blood vessels. Uncontrolled diabetes could lead to gangrene resulting in the amputation of the foot.

“Diabetes patients are prone to loss of sensation in the foot and poor blood supply to the lower limbs. This makes them vulnerable to ulceration, infection and poor healing. At an advanced stage, such ulcers can even lead to amputation. Proper foot care and use of footwear can help reduce the risk of ulcers. Proper preventive measures can go a long way in reducing the economic burden on the patient, the family and the hospital,” said head of the department C.R. Anand Moses.

According to him, the diabetology outpatient receives around 800 to 1,000 patients daily. A study found that nearly half of them are at a high risk of developing foot ulcers and about six percent of patients already have ulcers. “Our study shows that 60 per cent suffer from minimal peripheral neuropathy(damage to nerves) and 2.5 per cent suffer from peripheral vascular disease. At the clinic, patients are taught to care for their feet through simple steps such as carefully examining their feet daily with the help of a mirror,” Dr. Moses said.

The department received a donation of Rs. 5 lakh from Calve Sadasiva Chetty (Madras) Charities for the purchase of equipment needed for the clinic. The clinic was inaugurated by Mayor Saidai Doraisamy on Monday.

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