Having to live with diabetes means adjusting to a new lifestyle. People who manage diabetes mellitus know that this metabolic disease causes high blood sugar. With this condition, your body doesn’t make enough insulin. Or it doesn’t properly use the insulin that it’s already there. And this eventually results in a series of different health issues if not treated in time.
Any diabetic needs to understand all the complications of high blood sugar. The longer it’s left untreated, and the higher it gets, the greater the risks for serious health problems are.
Some of the most common complications that are caused by diabetes are:
This article will detail diabetic foot ulcers, what causes them, and the possible treatment and prevention methods.
What Are Diabetic Foot Ulcers?
Diabetic foot ulcers are one of the most common complications of poorly managed diabetes. They’re usually located underneath the big toes and on the heels. But, their location can differ. It mostly depends on how you lean on your foot and what part of the skin has been exposed to constant irritation. Some of the usual diabetic foot ulcer symptoms include swelling, redness, sores, and cracks.
There are three most common types of foot ulcers:
- Venous stasis ulcers
Each of these three types is defined by the ulcer’s location and the way it looks like.
Diabetic foot ulcer stages can be classified into six groups according to the Wagner classification chart.
The foot ulcer stages are:
- Grade 0 - skin is still intact.
- Grade 1 - Superficial changes on the skin.
- Grade 2 - Deeper wounds.
- Grade 3 - Deep abscess formation.
- Grade 4 - Partial gangrene.
- Grade 5 - Extensive gangrene.
By looking at pictures of diabetic foot ulcers, you could compare to see if they match any wounds on your feet. However, it’s highly recommended to visit a doctor in this case who’ll offer the best possible treatment. An early-stage diabetic foot ulcer can only be detected through regular foot inspection.
Diabetic Foot Ulcers Causes
Diabetic foot ulcers form as a result of skin breaking down, exposing layers underneath it. They are usually caused by high blood sugar, poor circulation, nerve damage, and damaged feet skin.
High blood levels and poor blood circulation could slow down the healing process of an infected ulcer. That’s why if you’re managing diabetes, it’s essential to minimize the level of damage done to your feet and any other part of your body.
Nerve damage can cause neuropathy, which leads to the loss of feeling in your feet and hands. That makes it harder for you to detect any new wounds, which increases the risk of infection.
Dry and damaged skin on the feet is normal with diabetics, and it’s more prone to cracking and open wounds.
Diabetic Foot Ulcer Treatment
After you’re diagnosed with a diabetic foot ulcer, the first thing that you should do is avoid walking or standing as much as you can. Any additional pressure on the wound can cause further complications.
If the ulcer isn’t in its early stages, the doctor will do everything to prevent further infection. The first step would be to disinfect the skin around the ulcer. Then your doctor will probably suggest enzyme treatments and foot baths prevent the infection from spreading.
Every foot ulcer is different, so not everyone will get the same treatment. There are various ways in which doctors address this condition.
One of the possible ways to treat an ulcer is with medicine. The doctor may prescribe anti-clotting medication, antibiotics, or antiplatelets. Your treatment will depend on the lab results and the level of infection on the wound.
2. Topical Treatments
A diabetic foot ulcer can also be treated with different topical treatments. Various creams, gels, and solutions will protect the wound and help it heal faster. These topical treatments vary, and they can be PHMB gel, iodine, medical-grade honey, and silver sulphadiazine.
Later stages of a foot ulcer might require an urgent surgical procedure. Procedures such as this one might seem frightening. But they are necessary if you want to prevent further infection or even possible amputation.
The surgeon operates on the ulcer by removing foot deformities or by shaving down the bone. It’s improbable that you’ll need surgery if you go to see your doctor in time.
Proper management of your diabetic foot can prevent ulcers in the first place. Even though this isn’t a treatment per se, it can be more useful than anything else. The best way to deal with ulcers is by not allowing them to appear at all.
The only way to achieve this is by adapting to a new and improved lifestyle. Start with a thorough inspection of your feet daily. Look for cracks or wounds that might get infected.
Also, don’t forget to dry your feet after every shower properly. Use a clean and dry towel and pay attention to the space between the toes. Moreover, moisturize your skin regularly to prevent it from breaking.
Wearing proper footwear and diabetic socks, both outdoors and indoors, is essential. Specialized socks for diabetics and shoes improve circulation, protect your feet, and keep them warm.
Lastly, include daily exercise in your schedule. Physical activity improves blood circulation, and it can keep your weight in check. The less weight you have, the less pressure your feet have to endure. All you need is 30 minutes of physical activity every day. You’ll start feeling the benefits of this new lifestyle very soon.
Let Us Help You
Preventive care of diabetic feet has proven to be the most successful way of keeping your feet healthy. Wearing specialized warm socks for people with diabetes has many benefits. It will improve your blood circulation and protect your feet from any scarring and possible infections.Viasox offers many different options. For any additional questions or feedback, you’re welcome to contact us at any time! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!