Awareness and practices of foot self-care in patients with diabetes at Dr Yusuf Dadoo district hospital, Johannesburg
Objectives: To determine awareness and foot self-care practices in patients with diabetes.
Design: A cross-sectional descriptive study.
Setting and subjects: This study was conducted on 120 consecutive patients with diabetes at the outpatient department of Dr Yusuf Dadoo district hospital, Krugersdorp, Johannesburg. A researcher-administered questionnaire, adapted from the Summary of Diabetic Self-Care Activities, collected information on participants’ demographics, clinical co-morbidities, awareness and foot self-care practices. The researcher also conducted a foot examination to identify foot pathologies. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, chi-square and t-tests, and logistic regression.
Outcome measures: Patients’ awareness of, and practices pertaining to, foot self-care.
Results: Of the 120 participants, the majority were blacks (59.2%), female (60%) and unemployed (68.3%). The mean age was 56.3 years. Athlete’s foot was the most common foot problem that occurred in 16.2% of participants. While only 24.2% reported awareness of foot self-care, 71.7% had performed foot self-care sometimes in the past, and 69.2% had done so at least one day within the last week. Only 5.8% of participants had had their feet examined by a podiatrist, and 32.5% by a doctor or nurse. Approximately 46.7% regularly soaked their feet in water, 7.5% applied talcum powder to dry their feet, 54.2% inspected their shoes and 25% walked barefoot. Smoking was the only variable that was significantly associated with finding a foot ulcer.
Conclusion: Poor participants’ awareness and foot self-care practices highlight critical gaps in the care provided to patients with diabetes. Interventions which empower patients and healthcare professionals to regularly perform foot examinations and foot self-care are required to improve diabetic foot care in South Africa.
Keywords: diabetes, awareness, foot, self-care, practices
Material submitted for publication in the Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa (JEMDSA) is accepted provided it has not been published elsewhere. JEMDSA reserves copyright of the material published. Neither JEMDSA nor the Publisher may be held responsible for statements made by the authors.