The Diabetic Foot Ulcer – What It Is?
Approximately 15 percent of people who have diabetes will get a diabetic foot ulcer. The vast majority of the time, diabetic foot ulcers will occur on the bottom of the foot. It will appear as an open sore. About 6 percent of all diabetics who develop a foot ulcer will require hospitalization. The reason? Infection or another complication that is ulcer-related. Seek care for diabetic wound care, San Jose as soon as possible.
Getting immediate medical attention when a foot ulcer is noticed from a San Jose diabetic ulcer podiatrist doctor is important because between 14 and 24 percent of diabetics who have a foot ulcer end up with an amputation. In fact, in the United States, lower extremity amputations not caused by trauma is the number one threat to diabetics.
Who Is At Risk For A Diabetic Foot Ulcer?
The short answer is everyone who is a diabetic. But there are specific groups that are at risk for developing them, including Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and older men in general. Diabetics who take insulin are another group at a higher risk. Finally, diabetics who already have an existing complication that is diabetic-related – heart, kidney, or eye problems – have a greater risk. If a diabetic is overweight, uses alcohol, or uses tobacco products, they increase their risk of developing a foot ulcer even if they are not in one of the above groups. Should a possible ulcer be noticed, call to get professional diabetic wound care treatment.
How Does A Diabetic Foot Ulcer Form?
There are a number of ways an ulcer can form, ranging from poor circulation to injuring a foot. Other factors include the length of time a person has been diabetic, a foot deformity, ill-fitting shoes or socks, and a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is a partial or complete loss of feeling in the feet due to uncontrolled blood sugar levels over many years that leads to the damage of nerves in the toes, feet, and lower extremities. This loss of feeling makes even minor injuries to the feet difficult to notice, resulting in an untreated sore which progresses to a foot ulcer. For diabetics who are concerned whether they are developing neuropathy, a podiatrist can conduct a painless test with a medical tool called a monofilament.
Why Should A Diabetic Foot Ulcer Get Immediate Treatment?
The biggest risk for any open wound in the body is infection. For diabetics, this can quickly lead to more complications if not properly treated. Talking with a podiatrist or specialist in diabetic wound care, San Jose, is the first step in minimizing the potential for any additional damage. Possible additional complications are loss of function, reduced quality of life, and amputation of the foot or limb. You will also save money on additional doctor visits and associated medical costs by seeking treatment immediately. Some wounds surgery may require foot orthotics for fitting which can be also be accommodated.
Diabetic Foot Ulcers – Treatment
The number one rule to keep in mind is that the sooner the ulcer is treated, the less chance there is for infection. So getting to a San Jose podiatrist or doctor is the most important first step in diabetic wound care treatment.
Beyond this, there are important factors that will determine how quickly the ulcer will heal.
Off-loading – which is taking pressure off of the affected area
Debridement – removing dead skin and tissue
Dressing the ulcer
Improving management of blood glucose levels and other health-related issues
It is important to know that not all diabetic foot ulcers are infected. This determination will be made by a podiatrist, and if an infection is present you will be given medication to cure the infection using a prescribed program of antibiotics and wound care procedures. Depending on the severity of the ulcer, a person may require hospitalization.
In preventing an ulcer from becoming infected, several important factors are considered:
Consistently maintaining normal blood glucose levels
Keeping the affected area clean and bandaged
Daily cleaning of the wound
Applying the prescribed dressing and/or bandage
Always keep shoes on your feet except when showering or bathing
To maximize the effect of off-loading, diabetics may be required to wear shoes that protect the feet and inserts that shift the weight off from the affected area. Diabetic shoes, a brace, specialized castings, or even crutches or the use of a wheelchair may be required to speed the healing.
The good news is that wound care has made significant advances over the years. Letting the wound “air out” is now known to work against the healing process of the body. Keeping wounds moist and covered accelerates the healing process and reduces the chances of infection. Medications such as full strength betadine or peroxide, or the use of whirlpools or soaking the wound to promote healing actually interfere with the complete healing of the ulcer and have the potential to create additional complications.
Adequate circulation to the ulcerated area is essential for healing of the wound. Podiatrists and doctors have tests that can determine the circulation levels to your toes and feet.
Are There Surgical Options If Necessary?
The short answer is yes. Only a doctor or diabetic wound care, San Jose can make the accurate diagnosis. But in most cases the foot ulcer and any infection can be treated without the necessity for a surgical procedure. There may be other factors that contribute to the creation of an ulcer, such as the presence of hammertoes, bunions, or bone bumps. Surgery will repair these causes of pressure on the foot or ulcer that prevent its complete healing. Additional procedures to promote healing are may include bone shaving and bone excision.
Factors In Arriving At Complete Healing
The time it takes to completely heal a foot ulcer depends on a number of factors. The first is the location of the ulcer. The size of the ulcer is obviously very important, as well as how much pressure is placed on the ulcer during the healing process, circulation, the presence of any swelling, and o course, the level of control the diabetic has over their blood glucose levels. The amount of time for complete healing can range from a few weeks to several months. Discuss this issue with your diabetic wound care professional or podiatrist.
It is important to know if you are at a high risk for getting a diabetic foot ulcer. The following list shows the greatest risk factors.
Having diabetic neuropathy
Any foot deformity
Wearing improperly fitting shoes or walking barefoot
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels
Lesser but important risk factors include smoking, use of alcohol, and having high cholesterol levels. Eliminating these factors will reduce your chances of creating a foot ulcer and are important for the overall control of your blood sugar levels. The importance of choosing and wearing properly fitting socks and shoes cannot be overstated. Work with your podiatrist to find the best shoe solution.
Doing a daily check of your feet is an essential part of being a diabetic, especially if you have any of the risk factors listed. Early detection leads to early prevention, and if any sore, no matter how small appears, contact a San Jose podiatrist for diabetic wound care treatment. Check on your feet and between your toes for any blisters, bruises, cracking, redness, or any other foot or skin abnormality. When it comes to diabetic foot ulcers and diabetic foot care, there are no simple problems.
We can help – Call Dr. Nguyen Ky today if you need help with or have questions about arthritis treatment in the feet, toes, or ankles in San Jose CA, call us today or send an email to the right!!
Dr. Nguyen Ky DPM (408) 292-2485
Achilles Tendonitis Ankle Instability / Fractures Ankle Sprain Arthritic Foot & Ankle Care Athlete’s Foot Bunions Corns and Calluses Crush Injuries Diabetic Foot 5th Metatarsal fracture Flat Feet Foot fractures Foot orthotics Fungal Nails Geriatric Foot Care Gout Hammertoes Heel Pain Ingrown Toenails Injuries Morton’s Neuroma Neuroma Osteoarthritis Plantar Fasciitis Toe fractures Warts Workers Compensation Foot Doctor diabetic charcots foot wounds