The awareness and performance of appropriate foot self-care practices among diabetic patients attending Dr. Yusuf Dadoo Hospital, Gauteng Province, South Africa.

Dikeukwu, Robert A
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Introduction Diabetes (especially type 2) is a common and growing health problem with significant mortality and morbidity including foot problems (neuropathy, ulceration, infection and amputation) These micro vascular/macro vascular complications can be decreased with certain treatments including good diabetic foot self-care. With this in mind, I set out to measure self-reported knowledge/awareness and performance of appropriate foot self-care among diabetic patients attending Dr. Yusuf Dadoo Hospital-a level one urban hospital. My premise which was borne by my result was that foot self-care and awareness thereof was poor among sampled diabetic patients. This can be attributed to both scant education and infrequent foot examination by clinicians and poor adherence to appropriate foot care by majority of the patients surveyed. Objectives: To determine the awareness and performance of appropriate foot self-care practices among diabetic patients attending the out-patient unit of Dr. Yusuf Dadoo Hospital. Study design and methods: This was a descriptive cross sectional study. Participants were consecutively recruited until the sample size of 120 was reached. A questionnaire was used to collect data. Data was analysed using STATA version 10.0. Main outcome measures: foot self-care practices, the level of awareness of foot self-care and foot abnormalities found in diabetics Results: There were more females (60%) than males (40%) and the mean age was 56.3 years. About 30.8% of patients had not inspected their feet for one week, while 21.7% had done it poorly. 92.5% did not use talcum powder to dry their feet, 45.8% did not inspect their shoe before wearing and 94.2% did not make use of a podiatrist at all. However, 53.3% did not soak their feet in water and only 25% walked bare foot while 75% did not. Only about 37.5% has had their feet examined by either a doctor or a nurse while 67.5% had not. Hypertension was found to be the commonest co-morbidity occurring in 60% of the patients studied Athlete‟s foot was the most frequently occurring foot problem found in 16.2% of these patients. Conclusion: Majority of the patients had poor awareness and poor foot self-care practices or inadequate foot self-care practices .Appropriate foot care education should be given to diabetic patients by health care professional to enable them carry out adequate foot self-care practices.