Diabetic Ulcer and Wound Care
Diabetes has profound effects throughout the entire body. If you have diabetes, you probably already understand the risks of a diabetic ulcer in your lower legs and feet. Circulation to the lower limbs is often significantly reduced in people with diabetes, promoting the development of wounds and ulcers in the toes, feet, lower legs, or ankles. Diabetic wound care is vital in healing ulcers and sores and preventing complications.
When left untreated, an ulcer can cause an infection or abscess and lead to gangrene and amputation. No doubt, you want to avoid going down that road.
The good news is that if you manage your diabetes well and properly care for any wounds or ulcers you do get, it’s likely that you can improve your odds of a good outcome. Here’s how you can do to prevent and heal diabetic wounds and ward off unpleasant complications.
Preventing Diabetic Ulcers and Wounds
Diabetes occurs when your body is unable to regulate the level of glucose in your blood. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 34 million people have diabetes in the U.S. What’s even more concerning is that approximately 20% of diabetics aren’t even aware than they have diabetes.
Diabetic wounds are common when you have diabetes, but they’re not a given. Some diabetic patients are more at risk than others. For instance, as you get older, you’re more likely to have a diabetic ulcer on your lower legs or feet. In fact, 42% of all diabetics are aged 65 or older.
Diabetics who have the following will want to manage their risk more:
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Peripheral artery disease
- Poor circulation
- Excessively high blood sugars
- High cholesterol
- A previous history of wounds in the feet or legs
- If you’re a smoker or drink alcohol excessively
If you’re proactive about managing your overall health and diabetes better, there’s a chance you can prevent diabetic ulcers in the first place. Check your feet each day for sores, cuts, blisters, or redness. Look in between your toes and on your feet and lower legs. If you have a hard time examining the entire area, get a loved one to help.
There may be other ways to manage your individual risk. Ask your doctor about it and heed any advice he or she has to offer.
Once a diabetic wound or ulcer has developed on part of your foot or leg, a proactive diabetic wound care regimen can improve your chances of fully recovering. This includes:
Monitoring blood sugar levels as part of a proactive diabetic wound care plan.
It makes sense that if you’re more prone to developing a diabetic ulcer because of your condition, paying more attention to your blood glucose levels is a good first step. When your glucose levels are high, the blood flow to your limbs is affected. This impacts how fast a wound can heal, and healing will take place more slowly, allowing more time for an infection to set in. It also prevents oxygen from reaching the tissues as well as it should. If enough tissues die off from lack of oxygen, it could lead to amputation of your foot or leg. Maintaining optimum blood glucose levels is the first line of defense in diabetic wound care.
Keeping any diabetic ulcers and wounds moist and covered up.
The old school of thought used to be to air out a diabetic wound. But, we’ve learned more about diabetic ulcers and now know that healing is more effective when foot and leg ulcers are covered and kept dressed. Your doctor can recommend a topical medicine to apply to your diabetic wound. Once you’ve applied it to your lower leg or foot, wrap the wound or ulcer with a clean dressing.
Reducing pressure on the affected foot or leg.
Diabetic wound healing often takes time, and it’s best to avoid bearing weight on the affected leg until healing begins to occur. You’ll want to avoid any activities that require you to stand up for long, like washing dishes or mowing the lawn. If you’re an up-and-at-’em kind of person, this might be a more difficult thing to follow. But it is best to take a load off if you want to promote faster diabetic wound healing.
Diabetic Wound Healing at Foot and Ankle Specialists of The Woodlands
Our foot and ankle specialists trained at the top hospitals and universities in the nation. It’s our job as podiatrists to encourage, promote, and manage better foot health for our diabetic patients. We’re a comprehensive wound care center that offers the most up-to-date, innovative treatments available.
We’ll assess and diagnose your needs and provide a tailored treatment approach as we recommend the therapies that are best to heal your diabetic wounds. Our goal is to heal your diabetic ulcer as fast and efficiently as is possible without wound-related complications.
We have four convenient locations to serve you within the Greater Houston area, including The Woodlands, Huntsville, Memorial City, and St. Joseph’s. We’ll even come to you and make a house call when needed. And rest assured that we accept many forms of insurance and Medicare payments and we will file those claims for you.
Reach out to us at 281-909-7722 and schedule an appointment with one of our diabetic wound care doctors today! You can also send us a message if it’s more convenient. We look forward to serving all of your foot care needs!