People with diabetes are a higher risk of developing foot wounds and infections. Untreated wounds that do not heal can lead to serious complications, including amputation. Caring for diabetic foot wounds effectively can prevent infection and encourage healing. If you are unsure how to properly care for wounds on your feet, consult with a diabetic foot care podiatrist to learn more. Diabetic wound care

Diabetic Wound Risk Factors

Diabetes can put you at risk of foot wounds and ulcers because being diabetic slows down the body’s natural healing process and makes you more susceptible to developing an infection. An infection can spread to the bones or surrounding tissue. Thus, it’s important to treat a diabetic wound as soon as possible, and it is essential for proper healing. A serious complication that can occur from an unhealed and infected wound is amputation.

Many patients with diabetes have a loss of sensation in their feet that makes it difficult for them to feel pain. Consequently, a foot wound such as an ulcer, abrasion, a sore, a blister, or a cut could go undetected. Signs of a foot wound or ulcer often include bleeding or drainage on your socks and/or swelling and redness on your foot. Some factors that can put you at a higher risk of a foot wound or ulcer are:

  • Neuropathy
  • Poor circulation
  • Smoking
  • Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels
  • Foot deformities
  • Taking certain medication
  • Wearing shoes that do not fit properly
  • Being overweight

Treatment Options for Diabetic Wounds

If you have a wound on your foot, contact your podiatrist for an evaluation. A podiatrist can examine your feet and determine the best type of treatment. Some treatment options that a podiatrist may recommend to help heal a diabetic foot wound include:

Medication

Applying a topical medication such as an antibiotic ointment can reduce your risk of infection and promote healing. A bandage or padding may be applied over the wound to protect it while it heals. If the wound is severely infected, a course of oral antibiotics may be needed to clear up the infection.

Offloading

Not walking on the foot or putting pressure on the area of the wound is often recommended. Offloading reduces pressure and irritation on the foot and gives the wound time to heal. Your podiatrist may recommend wearing special footwear or a custom orthotic inside your shoe, using a walking aid such as a cane or crutches, or using a wheelchair. In addition, casting, braces, or a walking boot may be needed.

Cleaning

It is important to keep the wound clean and dry to promote healing. Daily washing with a mild soap and warm water can help prevent infection and aid in healing. After cleaning the wound, it can be wrapped in a clean, gauze dressing.

Debridement

If there are areas of dead skin or tissue, a podiatrist can use a technique called debridement. This surgical procedure involves cleaning the wound using a scalpel to remove dead and infected tissue to allow the area to heal and promote new tissue growth. This type of technique should never be done at home.

Laser therapy

At Capital Podiatry, we use MLS laser therapy to help patients heal more quickly from their wounds. This advanced therapy increases blood flow and oxygen to the wound site and helps regenerate tissue and reduce inflammation. Foot wounds may shrink and close faster when using MLS laser therapy.

Surgery

If other foot conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, or bone spurs are increasing your risk of developing a foot ulcer, those issues may need to be addressed to prevent recurring wounds. Surgery may be done to remove pressure off areas of the foot where deformities are present.

Hospitalization

In some cases, hospitalization may be needed to treat severely infected wounds.

Because every patient is different, healing can often take weeks or months depending on the size and location of the wound, medical conditions, and circulation.

Diabetic Wound Prevention

In addition to seeking immediate medical attention for any wounds on your feet and seeing a podiatrist for regular examinations, there are other things to do to help keep your feet healthy and prevent wounds from developing, including:

  • Maintaining a healthy blood sugar. When you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar is critical. Keeping your blood glucose levels under control can lower your risk of developing a foot wound or ulcer. When blood sugar levels are high, wounds cannot heal properly, and new tissue cannot regenerate.
  • Avoiding walking barefoot. You should avoid walking barefoot to prevent injuries to the bottoms of your feet.
  • Wearing socks. Always wear clean, dry socks to protect your feet.
  • Performing daily self-checks of your feet. Check your feet daily, especially your soles and between your toes, for sores, bruises, cuts, blisters, redness, discoloration, or cracks. Any abnormal change should be checked by a podiatrist. If you are having difficulties checking your feet yourself, use a mirror or ask for help from a friend or family member.
  • Never soaking your feet. Avoid soaking your feet for a long period of time, and never use hot water on your feet.
  • Keeping your feet moisturized. Keep your feet well moisturized to prevent dryness and cracks, but don’t use lotion between your toes.

Are You looking for Wound Care in Alexandria, VA?

If you are looking for an expert on wound care,you should reach out to an experienced podiatrist. Foot pain is never something you just have to put up with. If your feet are aching, out of alignment, or just aren't holding up to the wear and tear of modern living, Capital Podiatry Associates can help. Our office provides a wide variety of advanced, effective treatment options for all kinds of painful conditions. Ready to schedule an appointment? We offer telemedicine and valet medicineContact us online or call our Alexandria office at 703-560-3773.

 

Leland T. Gilmore, DPM
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Dr. Leland Gilmore is a compassionate and experienced foot and ankle specialist.