June is wound healing awareness month!
America is currently facing a wound epidemic, with 8.2 million Americans dealing with chronic wounds. One of these severe wound cases includes diabetic foot ulcers, which affect about 15% of diabetic patients. Let’s take a deeper look into what these ulcers are and how they can be treated.
What are Diabetic Foot Ulcers?
Ulcers themselves are simply open sores on one’s skin. Diabetes is often accompanied with poor circulation and nerve damage in the feet, which in turn can cause these foot ulcers. Due to the poor circulation, these foot ulcers will have a harder time healing. If a diabetic patient uses insulin, is overweight, uses tobacco, or has a diabetes-related disease such as kidney or heart disease, they are even more likely to experience a foot ulcer.
What Are Signs and Symptoms I Might Have One?
If you see an open wound or sore on the bottom of your foot beginning to develop, it’s best to get it checked out in case it’s a diabetic foot ulcer. However, with many diabetic patients experiencing foot numbness, it’s possible to not even realize a painful wound is forming, which is why it’s important to check your feet if you don’t have a lot of sensation in them. Another sign you may be developing one is if there is any drainage or discharge coming from your foot or that comes off onto your sock. You may also notice a foul smell coming from the wound if it has become infected.
How Can I Prevent Them?
There are certainly precautionary steps to take to avoid your chances of developing a foot ulcer. Make sure to keep your blood sugar as stable as possible through the correct diet and your prescribed medicine and regimen- not only to prevent foot ulcers, but to remain healthy overall. Walking barefoot, especially outside, can increase your chances of getting foot wounds, as well as wearing too-tight shoes. Also pay attention to the cleanliness of your feet; wash them every day with soap and water to kill bacteria, since a bacteria buildup can lead to an infection if there are any lacerations in your skin.
How Are They Treated?
There are many options for treatment depending on what your doctor recommends. You may need to wear a cast or brace to keep pressure off your affected foot, or perhaps even use crutches to prevent putting any weight on it. It’s also best to keep the wound covered and moist to help it heal faster. You may be advised to use specific ulcer bandages and topical creams with certain ingredients to help it heal, as some other topicals used for healing of other skin issues may make matters worse. Advanced technology even allows for the usage of regenerative tissue therapies as a form of treatment. Measures for controlling blood glucose are extremely effective in healing a diabetic foot ulcer to keep it from getting worse. For severe ulcers that don’t respond to more traditional treatment methods, surgery may be used as a solution.
Make an Appointment Today
When dealing with diabetic foot ulcers, it’s important to not self-diagnose or self-treat the symptoms. If you have diabetes and can see or feel an ulcer forming, or even if you are not a diabetic patient and see an ulcer on your foot, seeking medical attention from the team at Alpine Foot Specialists should be your first step. We look forward to hearing from you!