Diabetic Wound Care
According to the CDC, diabetes patients record over 130,000 amputation-related hospitalizations annually. People with diabetes face a greater risk of getting foot ulcers and other related infections. Why is that so? And what is the solution? This article answers these and several other questions to help you understand foot care for diabetes wounds and ways to handle the healing process.
Risks from Foot Wounds When You Have Diabetes
Minor cuts and injuries are unfortunate but unavailable occurrences in life. In most cases, they heal by themselves or with minimal care. However, for those with diabetes, these wounds can trigger severe health complications. Why is that so?
The elevation of blood glucose levels due to diabetes can trigger neuropathy, a reduction or lack of the ability to sense pain in the feet because of damaged nerves. In most cases, the nerve damage occurs with less or no pain, and you may not even notice anything unless you visit a podiatric physician. These vascular complications reduce your body’s ability to heal. So, if you get a minor wound, the healing process will be slower, and you’ll be more vulnerable to the risk of infection. Also, elevations in the body’s blood glucose levels due to diabetes retard your ability to fight infections that cause complications like foot ulcers.
Why Is Wound Treatment When You Have Diabetes So Vital?
In normal circumstances, minor injuries heal by themselves or with minor wound care. However, for those with diabetes, you should seek wound treatment immediately if you notice any injury that may trigger foot ulcers. Here’s why:
- Wound treatment can help prevent severe foot ulcers: As we’ve explained, the wound healing process in people with diabetes is slower and minor injuries are more likely to advance into foot ulcers. However, if you respond and treat the injuries as soon as possible, you’re likely to avert severe complications.
- Wound treatment can save you from amputation: The earlier you respond to wounds, the higher your chances of preventing them from severely affecting your foot. Doing so eliminates the need to amputate the affected areas.
- It can reduce the healthcare cost: Again, this is tied to the fact that treatment prevents severe damages. As a result, you solve the complications before they become too expensive.
Preventive Care Recommendations
Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some preventive care recommendations:
- Avoid walking barefoot: Walking barefoot exposes you to cuts and bruises that may trigger a diabetic foot ulcer. If you already have diabetes wounds, walking barefoot can expose the injuries to infections.
- Keep blood glucose levels under control: Elevated blood sugar levels can trigger vascular issues that lower your body’s ability to heal wounds. Therefore, keeping glucose levels in check lowers your predisposal to foot ulcers. It also enhances your ability to fight off infections.
- Bandage and clean any wounds: Open diabetic wounds heal slower because they’re exposed to infections. The cleaning and bandaging of injuries keep out pathogens that may aggravate the situation.
Wound Care Treatment Options
The primary goal of wound care treatment is to fasten the healing process. The faster the injuries heal, the less your exposure to getting an infection. Some of the treatment options we offer include:
- Surgical operations: In most cases, we start non-surgical solutions. But, if this doesn’t work, we may deploy surgical care such as bone excision to remove pressure on affected areas.
- Blood glucose management: We can also help keep your blood sugar level in check to prevent neuropathy. Doing so fastens the healing process.
- Applying medication and dressing: We manage wounds by cleaning and dressing them to prevent infections. Typically applied medications include saline, ulcer dressings, growth factors, and skin subtitles.
- Offloading: We may sometimes prescribe special footgear, castings, crutches, braces, or wheelchairs to reduce pressure (“offload”) in affected areas. Minimizing irritation speeds up the healing process.
Care for Your Diabetic Wounds Today
If you have concerns or are dealing with wounds on your feet, then do not hesitate to contact our team of experts right away. Our team at Family Foot Care & Surgery would rather cover all the bases and catch any potential problems than let them develop into something worse. Call our Milford office at 203-876-7736 or our Hamden office at 203-288-4055 or fill out our contact form and we would be happy to help!