How To Treat Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Experts estimate that somewhere in the world a person with diabetes will lose a lower extremity every half minute due to a wound. One of the complications that can occur in diabetes is the development of foot ulcers. These wounds occur for a variety of reasons including poor blood supply due to damaged blood vessels, neuropathy, which is damage to the nerves which makes it difficult for diabetics to feel their extremities, and finally, because diabetics tend to heal less quickly than non-diabetics. Indeed, diabetics are estimated to have a 10-fold higher risk of requiring an amputation than non-diabetics.

No Injury Is Considered Minor In Diabetic Feet

In diabetes even seemingly minor injuries should be treated as serious injuries. This includes even calluses which are often precursors to diabetic foot ulcers. One of the biggest components of treating diabetic foot ulcers is to engage in proactive, preventative diabetic footcare. This includes keeping the feet dry and clean, preventing them from cracking by applying moisturizer regularly, taking care when trimming nails, wearing well-fitting shoes, avoiding going barefoot, visually inspecting the feet daily, using caution at nail salons, and curing any hint of athlete's foot before it can cause cracks or sores on the feet. If any cuts, scrapes, or cracks are detected, the area should be immediately cleaned, triple antibiotic cream should be applied, the wound should be covered with gauze bandages, and the wound should be inspected by a healthcare professional or wound care center within 7 days.


Proper Footwear Is Essential

In addition, some people may need to regularly wear diabetic shoes which are sturdy, breathable, and protect the foot from damage. These measures are extremely important because diabetic ulcers are often painless due to neuropathy so extremely serious tissue damage may occur with no accompanying pain. In general, however, diabetics should avoid tight, pointy shoes, shoes made of materials that don't breathe like plastic, and they should avoid flimsy shoes such as flip flops. Diabetics, especially those with known vascular problems in the foot or neuropathy, should avoid going barefoot, even at home.

Treatment Of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Debridement

However, if a diabetic foot ulcer does occur there are many things that may need to be done to treat it. First, a doctor may need to debride the wound. This means that dead tissue in the wound is removed. This can be done in a variety of ways including using a scalpel, special scissors, flushing the wound, using a whirlpool, applying enzymes, or applying wet dressings. Many times wet dressings are applied to the wound, allowed to dry, and are then removed. As they are pulled off the wound, dead tissue comes with them.


Antimicrobials

Second, antibiotics or antifungals may be necessary to treat the infection. These will be prescribed initially based on the severity of the wound and may be taken orally, or they may need to be given intravenously. If the wound is particularly serious, cultures may be taken from the wound to identify the pathogen so that antibiotic therapy can be specific and targeted.

Remove Pressure

Third, all pressure on the wounded area must be avoided. This may mean that a person is confined to a wheelchair, or they may need to wear a cast, or use crutches, or wear a special diabetic boot that cushions the foot.

Control Blood Sugar

Finally, keeping blood sugar levels under tight control will aid in healing. When dealing with a complication such as a diabetic foot ulcer, proper diabetes management is essential.


At Home Wound Care

Once home, further wound care may be necessary. Typically this will consist of regular dressing changes. Your doctor will explain to you what you should do in your specific case. But once the wound is fully healed, it will be important to continue to engage in proper diabetic foot care hygiene to prevent a recurrence.

If these steps are followed, treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer can be successful and may prevent the need for an amputation.

Source: National Institute of Health
Photo: Pexels


More Articles

Having diabetes is cause for concern, however it doesn’t mean that you need to eliminate all of your favorite foods from your diet completely....

With diabetes becoming more of an epidemic each and every day, being knowledgeable about the disease, its effects on the body as well as ways to...

If you’re a diabetic or live with one, it can be tough trying to figure out the best foods to eat because your priority is to control your blood...

In this post, I will show you the 10 best ice creams for diabetics.

When you think of sweetened foods that a diabetic shouldn’t consume,...

If you’re living with diabetes, snacking is a necessity because going for more than 3-4 hours without eating can be detrimental to your health....

More Articles

For diabetics, choosing healthy snacks can be a daunting task.

A good rule of thumb is to pick out snacks that are rich in protein, fiber,...

According to information available through the National Institutes of Health, there’s an estimated 462 million people in the world who are...

Eleven Clinical Studies

After eleven clinical studies and 300,000 participants, researcher Vasanti Malik and her team of researchers...

Diabetic women often have a harder time losing weight than non-diabetic women. A study funded by Jenny Craig proved that diabetic women have an...

Many recent studies have proved that magnesium levels are lower in patients with diabetes than in non-diabetics. This magnesium...

Fluid retention, also known as edema, is a problem that affects many diabetics, especially those with type 2 diabetes...

Some of us might be thrilled if we could manage our blood sugar by sitting in a hot tub or sauna, instead of working up a sweat biking, or using...

Cooking and baking with the ancient cereal grain sorghum has health benefits for people with diabetes, and those with weight control issues....

When it comes to certain foods, there are always questions as to whether or not a diabetic can have them without...

With its slightly nutty flavor, chewy texture, and nutritional punch farro is an ancient whole grain worth a place in our pantry.

Farro...

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns.

The...

Salads are good example of foods that type 2 diabetics can enjoy with relatively low guilt. With the right greens and other elements added, salad...

Remaining gainfully employed is important to many people. Those who live with any form of diabetes may find that some lines of work are more...

Learning that you have diabetes does mean making some lifestyle changes. One of the areas that needs attention is your diet. Most people find that...

One of the more challenging aspects of life as a type 2 diabetic is managing your diet. There’s often the temptation to avoid certain foods...