A common complication for diabetic patients is a foot ulcer. A foot ulcer is a wound or open sore that typically develops on the bottom of the foot. Since diabetes can cause a loss of sensation in the feet, a wound can often go undetected. Diabetic foot ulcers can cause complications if they are not treated properly. It is important to seek medical attention at the first sign of an ulcer, so you can prevent serious problems from occurring. Consulting with a wound care podiatrist can give you answers to questions you may have about a foot ulcer and help determine the best type of treatment for your specific needs.
Questions to Ask Your Podiatrist
If you have a diabetic foot ulcer and are seeking the advice of a podiatrist, you may have questions you need resolved. Here are some frequently asked questions by diabetic patients:
- What are the symptoms of a foot ulcer? Some of the most common symptoms of a foot ulcer are redness, swelling, foul odor, and drainage or blood on your socks.
- Who is at risk for a diabetic foot ulcer? Anyone who is diabetic can develop a wound on their foot, but there are certain factors that can increase your risk of an ulcer. If you have poor circulation or diabetic neuropathy, have a foot deformity, wear shoes that do not fit properly, and/or have uncontrolled blood sugar levels, these can increase your risk of developing an ulcer. Additionally, smoking, drinking alcohol, and being overweight can also increase the risk.
- What are some causes of foot ulcers? Foot ulcers can be caused by wearing shoes that fit too tight or rub and cause a blister. Ulcers can also develop from not washing and drying your feet properly or from an injury on the bottom on the foot.
- What treatments are available for a foot ulcer? There are a variety of treatment options for diabetic foot ulcers. Treatment depends on the severity of the wound, location, and the patient’s particular needs. Some options include taking pressure off the area of the wound; using a topical or oral antibiotic to treat any infection; cleaning the wound; debriding the area to remove any dead skin or tissue to promote healing; and sometimes surgery if conservative treatments are not effective.
- How soon will it take for treatments to start working? Foot ulcers can take weeks to months to heal depending on the size of the wound and the location. Seeking treatment at the first sign of an ulcer can help prevent further problems and speed up healing. Having high blood sugar can cause a wound to heal slowly or not at all. If you notice an ulcer worsening or not healing properly, follow up with you podiatrist as soon as possible.
- What can I do to prevent future foot wounds? Taking proper care of your feet and doing a daily self-exam to look for signs of an ulcer or other injuries are important steps in keeping your feet healthy. To prevent future foot wounds from developing, you can take precautions such as washing and drying your feet daily, using a moisturizer on dry skin but not between your toes, wearing shoes that fit and are not too tight, wearing socks to protect your feet, not walking barefoot, trimming your toenails straight across, and maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.
- What happens if I don’t treat a foot wound? If left untreated, a foot wound can turn into a serious complication. Untreated foot wounds can become infected, and the infection can spread to surrounding tissue and bone. When an infection cannot be controlled, amputation may be needed to stop the infection and save your life.
Contact Us for Answers to Your Questions
If you have questions about diabetic foot ulcers, Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists has the answers. To request an appointment to discuss any concerns you have with your feet or to address any problems you may be experiencing, contact our Grapevine or Keller office by filling out our convenient online contact form or by calling us at 817-481-4000.