Foot Injuries Among Hajj Pilgrims with and Without Diabetes Mellitus: Implications for Infection Management
Harunor Rashid on behalf of the Diabetic Foot Care Research Team in Hajj.
Pilgrims attending Hajj in Makkah are at high risk of suffering from trauma and foot injury as they are required
to make circuits barefooted on scorching marbles around the Holy Mosque, and march between two hillocks for hours. No
study has systematically described the pattern of foot wounds among them. This observational study aimed to determine
the spectrum of foot injuries among diabetic and non-diabetic Hajj pilgrims and the preventive measures adopted by them.
Pilgrims who attended the Hajj 2013 and sought medical care for foot wounds at mobile podiatric clinics in Mina during
the peak days of Hajj were invited to participate in the study and fill out a questionnaire while they were serviced. Podiatric
carers noted down the significant signs of foot injuries. Out of 197 pilgrims from 21 different countries who participated
in this study, 60 (31%) were diabetic. The two most common injuries observed were blisters (34%) and erythema
(25%). Both diabetic and non-diabetic Hajj pilgrims were at high risk of developing infectious wounds, however a significantly
higher proportion of diabetic pilgrims had callosities. Use of appropriately fitting protective footwear, and regularity
in diets and drugs are highly recommended for pilgrims’ optimum foot care. Tailored educational advice on foot hygiene
before and during travel could be beneficial for Hajj pilgrims.
Keywords: Foot injury, Hajj, Mecca, Wound infection.
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