Diabetic foot ulcers are commonly seen in fifteen percent of patients suffering from diabetes. A diabetic foot ulcer is an open wound which occurs on the bottom of the foot. Diabetes is one of the major causes of non traumatic lower extremity amputations. Approximately 14 to 24 per cent of the patients suffering from diabetes develop a foot ulcer which ultimately ends up in the amputation of the limb. People with diabetes should be more cautious as they are at higher risk of developing foot ulcer and especially patients who use insulin should be extra cautious. People who are overweight and are diabetic should keep a check on diabetes related kidney, eye and heart disease.
What Are The Causes For Diabetic Foot Ulcers?
There can be a number of causes which can form diabetic foot ulcers, such as –
- Poor blood circulation.
- Lack of feeling in the foot.
- Foot deformities.
- Irritation, such as friction or pressure.
- Duration of diabetes.
Persons with long history of diabetes can develop neuropathy, a reduced or complete lack of feeling in the feet which is caused by nerve damage by increased blood glucose levels over time. Poor blood circulation can aggravate a foot ulcer because it reduces body’s ability to heal by increasing the risk of infection. Increased blood glucose levels can reduce the body’s ability to fight infection and also slows healing.
Tips for Treatment Of Diabetic Foot Ulcers:
- Try to get the treatment for foot diabetic foot ulcers as quickly as possible. The faster the healing, the less is the chance for infection. All ulcers are not infected, but if an infection is diagnosed proper treatment plan of antibiotics should be immediately started and if necessary hospitalization should be considered.
- In order to keep an ulcer from becoming infected, always try to keep your blood glucose levels under control.
- It is advised that the patient should keep the ulcer clean and bandaged and should avoid walking barefoot. Proper wound care makes sure that the ulcer is healed faster and the risk of infection is low if they are kept moist and covered.
- Proper wound management includes the use of topically applied medications and dressings, they may include normal saline to advanced products such as growth factors, ulcer dressings and skin substitutes which have proven to be highly effective in healing foot ulcers.
- Though majority of foot ulcers are treated without surgery, however if it becomes necessary than a surgery should not be avoided.
Tips For Prevention Of Diabetic Foot Ulcers:
As it’s said that prevention is better than treatment, it’s better to prevent a diabetic foot from happening in the first place. Wearing appropriate shoes and socks help in reducing the risk of getting a diabetic foot. Learn to self check your feet daily so as to reduce the risk of having a diabetic foot, check between your toes and the sole for cuts, cracks, redness, blisters, ulcers or any other sign of abnormality, if any such thing is detected immediate medical treatment under a medical doctor should be started.
Prevent diabetic foot ulcers by identifying high risk factors such as –
- Past foot ulcer
- Foot deformity
- Previous amputation
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Poor vision
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Diabetic kidney disease, especially patients on dialysis
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Inappropriate shoes
- Chronic smoking
- High cholesterol
Take all the above mentioned preventive measures to avoid a diabetic foot. As the old saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This could never be as true as it is when preventing a diabetic foot ulcer.
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