Diabetic foot disease in the form of ulceration, charcot joint fracture, and amputation affects 20% of patients with diabetes. This results in tremendous morbidity, mortality, and health care costs. The magnitude of this problem has been underrecognized by health care professionals. Impaired glucose control over a period of years affects peripheral nerve function by loss of protective sensation, muscle atrophy, foot deformity, and neuropathic fractures. Yearly foot examinations can identify risk factors. Regular nail care, callus removal, and education can prevent plantar ulceration. Protective footwear and custom orthotics improve function by reducing force and shear impact on the fragile foot and accommodate the patient's deformities. A cost-effective strategy of yearly comprehensive foot examinations, education, and appropriate interventions can improve both the quality and duration of life for those with diabetes mellitus.
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