In The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, Volume 53, Number 4, (www.JFAS.org) there is an article titled “Diabetic Foot Burns: A Case Series” submitted by Drs. Nerone, Springer and Atway, podiatrists from the Department of Orthopedics at the Ohio State University Medical Center. Diabetic patients can have loss of feeling called neuropathy and have a hard time healing. Once burned, these patients may have infections, need to be hospitalization, get further injuries including amputation. These authors set out to evaluate the mechanism and complications of burns in diabetic patients.
Their study of 189 patients from their facility who had a burn showed that the most common way these patients were burned was by immersion (into hot water). The next most common way was by contact. Both were attributed to the patients’ neuropathy. The immersion burns were from soaking their feet. Those with contact burns got those from not wearing shoes or socks and coming into contact with something hot like a radiator or things as diverse as a lawn mower or exhaust pipe from a motorcycle. The authors say that these were all preventable injuries with appropriate education and patient compliance (with doctors’ instructions and advice). The point is this: it is important for the diabetic patient to listen to their doctor’s instructions and advice and to follow them.
Not said in the article was the importance of seeking medical care without delay once you get injured like this. Those living alone have the unique problem of perhaps not knowing they are injured, or burned, and who do not bother to frequently inspect their feet. Enough cannot be said concerning the patient’s role in their own diabetic care. This article makes it even more clear that injuries like burns are preventable and not merely an unavoidable accident.