Diabetic foot ulcers
A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that usually appears on the bottom of the foot. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, approximately one in five people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer. Of those who develop a foot ulcer, six percent will be hospitalized due to infection or other related complications. Foot ulcers can even lead to limb loss.
Diabetic patients are susceptible to nerve damage in their feet called neuropathy. Since the patient does not feel any pain, they are often unaware of a foot injury until it becomes significant and possibly infected. Blood vessel damage caused by diabetes also complicates the foot ulcer, reducing the body’s ability to heal and increasing the risk of infection.
If you have diabetes, what can you do to prevent a foot ulcer?
- Inspect your feet daily for signs of sores and/or infection
- Always wear proper footwear
- Engage in regular exercise
- Keep your blood sugar levels and HgA1c under control
How does the Wound Treatment Center treat diabetic foot ulcers?
The Wound Treatment Center works with patients to develop a comprehensive plan to treat diabetic foot ulcers. To determine the severity of the wound, some tests will be performed such as X-rays, MRI, vascular testing, cultures, and bloodwork.
Some treatment options may include:
- Eliminating pressure to the wound (off-loading)
- Wearing certain items to protect your foot, which may include shoes designed for people with diabetes, casts, boots, or shoe inserts (orthotics) to prevent further injury and eliminate or reduce pressure
- Cleaning the wound’s unhealthy tissue (debridement)
- Proper dressings to inhibit bacterial growth. Your physician will also teach you how to properly dress your wound
Difficult to heal wounds may require more advanced techniques including the use of skin substitutes and occasionally surgery.