Your Guide to Diabetic Wound Care
November is National Diabetes month, so Dr. Lisa Brandy’s Trinity Foot Center team is here to help you understand the importance of diabetic wound care. When you are living with diabetes, you’re more likely to develop a diabetic foot ulcer. In fact, about 15% of people with diabetes develop this kind of wound.
That’s a scary statistic, but here’s an even scarier one. Up to 24% of diabetics who develop foot ulcers end up facing amputation of their lower extremities. For this reason, preventing ulcers is a critical part of diabetes care. And, when ulcers do develop, performing proper diabetic wound care could mean the difference between saving and losing a limb.
What Causes Diabetic Ulcers?
Several different factors can cause diabetic ulcers. First, diabetes can cause nerve damage that makes your feet less sensitive. That means you might not notice a small spot of irritation or a minor injury. Then, the disease can compromise your circulation, meaning less blood reaches your extremities. In combination, this could let a small wound develop unnoticed. And, over time, it could open into an ulcer that’s quite difficult to heal.
Diabetic Wound Symptoms
Because diabetic neuropathy reduces sensation in your feet, many wounds aren’t painful. Instead, you may notice symptoms such as redness, swelling and drainage. Over time, a severe wound may give off a distinct odor.
Diabetic Wound Care: When to See Your Podiatrist
A diabetic ulcer is a medical emergency. If you notice a wound forming, request an immediate appointment at our office. We will jump right into diabetic wound care to help you avoid infection, amputation or other serious medical complications.
Ulcer Treatment in Desoto, TX
Ulcers can be difficult to heal, so the goal of any diabetic wound care protocol is to prevent infection and speed their closing.
To do that, we’ll have to:
- Keep the wound free of infection
- Offload, or take pressure away from, the ulcer location
- Debride the wound, to clear away dead tissue and skin cells
- Medicate the area
- Get underlying conditions such as diabetes under good control
Whether or not your wound is infected, we will have to take pressure off the ulcer to allow it to heal. To do that, we may suggest wearing special shoes, braces or casts. In some cases, you may need to walk with crutches or even sit in a wheelchair. The choice we make will depend on the location and severity of your diabetic foot ulcer. And we will make the recommendation that avoids irritating your wound and interfering with the healing process.
New Developments in Diabetic Wound Care
While letting wounds air out used to be the best practice for ulcer healing, that’s no longer the case. Now we prefer to keep ulcers moist and covered to lower infection risk and support healing.
We also have a range of topical medications that play an important role in diabetic wound care. The ones we recommend for you will depend on your wound type. After all, an ulcer with drainage will need a different approach than one that’s dry. And an infected wound gets different attention than one without infection.
But, regardless of the type of wound you’re dealing with, we’ll have to focus on blood flow. Why is that important? An ulcer can only heal if it has a good blood supply, so checking your circulation will also be part of your diabetic wound care plan.
Also, we’ll work with other members of your diabetic care team. Together, we’ll focus on getting your blood sugar levels under control. This will help heal your current ulcer. And it can prevent future wounds from forming.
Healing an ulcer takes time and patience. The time it will take for your wound to close depends on many factors. These include the location and size of your ulcer. It will also depend on the topical medications we can use, your circulation and blood glucose levels, and the amount of pressure we can remove from the area. We may heal your wound in weeks, but it could take several months for complete closure. And that’s why preventing ulcer formation is so important for our patients with diabetes.
We’d rather stop an ulcer from forming than treat it after the fact. That’s why diabetic foot care is critical if you have this disease. Especially if you have complications such as reduced circulation, nerve damage of neuropathy, a history of ulcer formation, or a change in your foot structure due to hammertoes or bunions, since these further increase your risk for ulcers.
The biggest preventative tools we have are daily at-home foot checks and in-office exams. When you check your feet, look at every surface, especially those between your toes and on the sole. (Use a mirror or ask a friend or family member for help checking hard-to-see spots.) If you notice any red spots, blisters, cracks, bruises or signs of irritation, make an immediate appointment in the office.
Along with these foot checks, there are several other ways to prevent foot ulcers from developing.
- Always wear well-fitted shoes and socks. If your ulcer risk is high, you may benefit from prescription shoes for diabetics.
- Work with your diabetic care team to control blood glucose.
- Reduce or eliminate other risk factors such as consuming alcohol and/or smoking.
- Manage cholesterol levels and weight.
While not every ulcer is preventable, taking early action is the key to healing diabetic foot wounds. We see you as our partner in caring for your diabetic feet. Between daily home foot checks, quarterly office examinations, and emergency appointments for any changes to the appearance of your foot, we can keep you healthy and complication-free. In the event that an ulcer forms, starting our diabetic wound care protocol as soon as possible will help promote your full recovery.
|Monday||8:00am - 4:30pm|
|Tuesday||8:00am - 4:30pm|
|Wednesday||8:00am - 4:30pm|
|Thursday||8:00am - 5:30pm|
|Friday||8:00am - Noon|
p. (972) 293-9650
f. (972) 291-2533
1801 N. Hampton Road
DeSoto, TX 75115