Diabetic Foot Ulcers and How To Treat Them
Have you ever taken off your socks or shoes and saw blood, and had no idea how it happened? Well, 15 percent of patients with diabetes suffer from diabetic foot ulcers. A diabetic foot ulcer is an open injury or sore generally situated on the lower part of the foot. It starts from normal factors such as taking an extra-long walk or having a new pair of shoes. The ulcer starts as a small blister or callus on the foot, then the problem progresses. Some patients suffering from foot ulcers are hospitalized for ulcer-related complications or infections. Diabetic foot care prevents non-traumatic lower extremity amputations due to diabetic foot ulcers. The ulcers cause the skin to wear away because of the damaged nerves.
Foot ulcers are caused by various factors, some of the risk factors include:
- Poor washing and drying of the feet
- Poor-fitting and poor-quality shoes
- Alcohol consumption.
- Improper toenail trimming
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Eye disease from diabetes
- Tobacco use because it inhibits blood circulation
Diabetic foot ulcers can be very difficult to control and live with. To learn more, contact our podiatrist Ejodamen Shobowale, DPM of DeNiel Foot and Ankle Center. Our doctor will assist you with all of your foot and ankle issues and get up and about on your feet in no time.
Once you see the blackening around the ulcer, make an appointment with a podiatrist for diabetic wound care. If left untreated, the ulcer may spread to other areas of the legs and feet. Avoid leaving amputation, surgery, or replacement of lost skin as the only options of treatment for you.
To prevent pain from foot ulcers, you need to off-load and stay off your feet. The pressure from walking can make the ulcer worse, so relax your feet most of the time. When active, a podiatrist will recommend the use of casts, compression wraps, shoes designed for people with diabetes, foot braces, and shoe inserts to prevent calluses and corns.
The podiatrist will remove debridement, dead skin, or foreign objects that could be the cause of the ulcer.
Immediately you notice an infection to the foot ulcer, seek wound care from a health professional. All infections are not treated the same and the foot doctor may require a sample of the tissue surrounding the ulcer to determine what antibiotic will help you. If the infection is serious, further examinations such as an X-ray may be ordered to check for the signs of bone infection.
Prevention of foot ulcer infections
- Always keep your blood sugar levels under control to keep ulcers from developing. Uncontrolled glucose can cause loss of feeling and it means the sore may start without getting noticed.
- Conduct daily foot inspections and pay attention to your feet. Utilize a mirror to examine the lower part of the feet. When a sore is discovered early; it is treated early, preventing major problems.
- Disinfect the skin around the ulcer
- Use enzyme treatments
- Use foot baths
- To inhibit bacterial growth, use dressings containing calcium alginates.
- Change the ulcer dressing frequently to keep it dry
Diabetic foot ulcer medications: You may have prescribed anti-clotting, antibiotics, or antiplatelet medications to prevent the treatment of a progressing foot ulcer. Antibiotics attack staph infections.
Surgery: The podiatrist may recommend surgical help for the foot ulcer. Surgery is meant to alleviate pressure around the ulcer by removing foot abnormalities or shaving down the bones. Surgery is also used to prevent the ulcer from becoming worse leading to amputation, especially, if no other treatment works.