Fifteen percent. That’s the number of diabetics who will develop a foot ulcer—an open wound on the foot—according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. Diabetic wound care is vital to restore the health of your feet. This type of sore can also be found in the elderly, those with peripheral arterial disease, and overweight people, which makes it extremely important for them to practice good foot habits, too.
What Causes a Wound?
Without early detection, a small cut, scratch, or puncture wound can compound and turn into an infection. You might be thinking, why wouldn’t you notice a cut on your foot? Loss of feeling is the result of nerve damage and poor circulation in people with diabetes. Over time, some of them develop neuropathy, which could prevent them from feeling an injury in their foot. In fact most diabetics who developed an ulceration already have diabetic neuropathy. That is why it is very important that they contact the Northern California Neuropathy Center which is part of the McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group
Treating Your Problem the Right Away
At the McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group, we’ll start your appointment by asking a few questions about your medical history, how you developed the foot ulcer, and any concerns you might have. Once we look at your wound, we will begin to treat it right away to make sure it doesn’t get any bigger or become infected.
There’s a few ways we process the wound at our office. Our first concern is to keep the wound clean and free of infections. It’s very important to wash and re-bandage the foot every day with a new dressing. Also, we’ll need you to avoid walking barefoot.
Take Pressure Off
Off-loading simply means taking pressure off your foot. The less time you spend putting pressure on it, the better. Pressure will only irritate the wound and slow the healing process. A cast, boot, wheelchair, crutches or other type of footwear may be prescribed to you to help immobilize the wound. For proper healing, however, you also need to maintain good circulation in your foot. Those are factors that will be determined by your doctor.
Cleanse the Wound
Diabetic wound care includes removing dead skin and tissues and applying dressings, skin substitutes, and topical medications to manage the area during the healing process. We can do this safely in our office and show you how to change dressings at home. Keeping the wound bandaged and moist is what will ultimately lead you to recovery. Avoid using whirlpools, hydrogen peroxide, or soaking your foot during this time.
Keep High Blood Sugar Levels at Bay
During your recovery time, we will ask that you monitor your blood sugar levels very closely, trying to avoid spikes in the levels. This will also aid in healing and keep other problems from occurring.
Prevent Ulcers: It’s Easy!
If you want to prevent wounds from complicating your life, make sure you practice daily diabetic foot checks and come in for regular foot check-ups. If there are no major problems, even one visit a year is enough for us to recommend the best shoes, thoroughly inspect your feet, and offer services—like nail trimming and general foot care—that will keep you from developing this condition. Throughout the year, try to avoid alcohol, smoking, and high cholesterol levels, which might exacerbate your conditions.
Dr. Brian McDowell is a board-certified podiatrist with more than 30 years of experience in neuropathy and nerve pain care. We have treated plenty of wounds successfully and can help ease your fears about diabetic wound care. Please make an appointment with the McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group at (916) 961-3434 if you think you may have a foot ulcer of any sort. We serve the greater Sacramento area, including Carmichael, Roseville, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, and Rocklin.
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