In the world of health, there are a number of dangerous combinations that can lead to serious consequences. Obesity and smoking, and heart disease plus high cholesterol are two examples; another is diabetes and ulcers.
How Does an Ulcer Form?
These open sores are a constant danger for those with diabetes. Nerve damage and poor circulation associated with the disease result in a loss of sensation in your feet, along with reduced blood flow to the area. This means you can injure your foot without knowing it, and while the wound goes unnoticed, your blood is unable to bring it the healing properties it needs. The longer such slow healing wounds go untreated, the more likely they will become infected, increasing the probability of amputation.
Prevention is Key
There is no such thing as a minor wound when it comes to diabetic feet. Even the smallest of abrasions, like a blister or scrape, can turn into a dangerous ulcer. Most often these sores develop on pressure points of the foot such as the ball of your foot and heel. However, an injury can occur anywhere and progress to a serious problem if left untreated. Because you may not be able to feel the formation of ulcers, it is important that you look for signs, as well as take preventative measures.
Daily Diligence - Just like brushing your teeth, checking your feet should be a part of your daily routine. Every single day look over each foot for any signs of trouble, including cuts, red or dry patches, temperature changes, blisters, calluses, and ingrown toenails. Use a hand-held mirror for hard to see places. If you notice anything unusual, contact Podiatry Associates, P.C. right away. The sooner treatment begins, the greater your chances of full recovery. In addition to self-foot exams, be sure to keep feet clean and dry, washing them with warm water and mild soap every day, then drying them thoroughly, especially between the toes where fungus can thrive. Also, keep skin soft by applying lotion on a regular basis (except between the toes!).
Lifestyle Changes - One of the most important things you can do to prevent ulcers is manage your diabetes. Keep blood sugar levels in check, as well as your weight. Don’t smoke and be sure to exercise. Walking is a safe choice to get your blood flowing (as long as an ulcer isn’t present), but make sure that your shoes fit well and are comfy and supportive. Adhere to a nutritional diet, too, and schedule regular check-ups with the experts at Podiatry Associates, P.C.
When Wounds are Discovered
You can’t always prevent injuries to your foot, but there are certainly steps you can take to prevent amputation in the case that slow healing wounds do occur. If despite your best efforts a foot sore develops, caring for the wound as soon as possible is essential to stopping its dangerous progression. At Podiatry Associates, P.C., we will first clean the wound and remove any damaged tissues, a process called debridement. Antibiotic medication will be applied and the wound covered with a sterile dressing. Off-loading will follow. This means taking pressure off of the affected area, and typically involves wearing a special boot and staying off of your feet as much as possible. With our help and consistent follow-up care, you can escape serious complications.
For more information on preventing and treating ulcers, contact our team by calling (303) 805-5156. We have offices in Castle Pines and Parker, CO, and serve Denver, Centennial, and Aurora, CO as well.
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