Diabetics can expect a whole lot more than just insulin and bad news at the Madras Medical College’s Institute of Diabetology — they can now expect a ‘safe’ pair of slippers. In addition to the free diabetic centre that helps over 1000 people on a daily basis, the State-run hospital has also started a diabetic Foot Care Clinic, to reduce the incidence of amputations among diabetics. India has an already huge diabetes burden with an alarming 30-50 pc of the population falling in the pre-diabetes category. As much as 15 pc of the overall population is said to be suffering with diabetes.
“Diabetics have a very high incidence of getting foot ulcers and injuries in the foot while walking. Whether or not this may grow infectious, there is a distinct possibility that they do not realize they have sustained an injury and so they do not tend to it. It may eventually lead to gangrene and in a worst case scenario, the person may lose the entire foot,” said Dr V Kanagasabai, Dean of MMC. To stem the rot from the foot into the body, this free clinic has been started and was inaugurated by Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy on Monday.
Earlier, in a study, noted diabetologist Dr Vijay Viswanathan had recorded that the incidence of diabetics developing problems with their foot leading to amputation was uniform, whether the person was based in a rural or urban setting, “This just shows that the risk of developing a problem in the foot and even getting it amputated is as much for a person in Chennai city as it is for a farmer in the rural South,” said Dr Viswanathan, when he released the study, a year ago. That was the reason why Dr Vijay Viswanathan’s hospital in Royapuram as well as Dr V Mohan’s Diabetes Care Centres offer specially made podiatric footwear to keep the feet of diabetics safe.
Podiatric care or the study of lower limbs, below the knee, has been an area of specialty that most diabetologists have laid emphasis on. “We will have trained specialists suggesting what kind of special footwear patients will need to ensure their feet are safe,” said Dr Kanagasabai.