A diabetic foot ulcer can appear seemingly out of nowhere. Too much walking, new shoes, or even calluses can cause these open foot sores on someone with diabetes. Here are some tips to help you understand, prevent, and treat this chronic wound.
Understanding diabetic foot ulcers.
First of all, it’s important to understand why you want to pay attention to diabetic foot ulcers. They occur in approximately 15% of patients with diabetes, 6% of which will need to be hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complications. Foot tissue is much softer than the rest of your tissue, so infection can spread more easily. Once it does, the infection and restricted blood flow can possibly lead to amputation if you ignore it.
To avoid the possibility of amputation, you should speak with your doctor as soon as possible if you get an ulcer, seek diabetic ulcer treatment, and keep your blood sugar under control. Diabetic foot ulcers often require chronic wound care because they are not as likely to heal on their own.
Preventing diabetic foot ulcers.
Perhaps your best defense against diabetic foot ulcers is to prevent them. This is done by paying attention to your feet. You should inspect your feet every day or have someone else inspect them for you. If you catch a sore early, you can prevent it from getting worse.
You should also control your blood sugar to prevent diabetic foot ulcers. Uncontrolled glucose can cause loss of feeling in your feet, which can make it difficult to notice sores. Controlled glucose can also help sores heal quicker.
Treating diabetic foot ulcers.
The first type of treatment you may receive for a diabetic foot ulcer could be debridement, in which unhealthy tissue is removed to trigger the natural healing process. You will change the bandage regularly and possibly even wear a cast or surgical shoe to keep pressure off the wound.
If your ulcer doesn’t heal in about a month or so, you may require more advanced chronic wound care. This could include a living skin substitute, such as a fish skin graft, or hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which promotes healing through breathing in pure oxygen.
Any wound that doesn’t heal in approximately three months is considered chronic and will require treatment. This includes diabetic foot ulcers or other illness or injury related wounds, abrasions, burns, or contusions.