Preventing and Treating foot ulcers in the Diabetic Patient
Diabetic foot ulcers are the leading cause of lower extremity amputations in the United States. The amputation rate in diabetics with foot ulcers is 60%. Care in a state of the art wound healing center can reduce the amputation rate by 80%.
Diabetes may cause loss of the protection sensation in the feet. This can be confirmed with a simple test administered by a foot/wound care professional. With the loss of protective sensation in your feet, called diabetic neuropathy, you may not feel the development of ulcers or calluses that can hide an ulcer underneath. In addition, diabetics often have peripheral vascular disease which contributes to wounds not healing. This makes it even more critical that a developing ulcer be caught and treated early with lower extremity assessment including a vascular evaluation.
Knowing how to care for the diabetic foot can lessen the chances of acquiring wounds. By alleviating pressure utilizing appropriate diabetic footwear, you can also minimize your chance of getting a diabetic foot ulcer by:
- Diabetes management
- Inspecting your feet daily to catch a developing ulcer or callus
- Washing your feet making sure you dry thoroughly paying special attention to dry between toes
- Moisturizing your feet daily using an alcohol free lotion avoiding between the toes
- Wearing white socks to assess for any fluid that may be coming from unidentified ulcers/wounds.
- Never go barefoot and see a healthcare professional routinely for foot care maintenance.
If you develop a wound on your foot, you need state of the art wound care by a specially trained wound care physician. Wound healing techniques such as total contact casting, appropriate dressings and possibly hyperbaric oxygen therapy which can reduce the risk amputation.