Foot ulcers can be a serious problem for those with diabetes. A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that happens when skin tissue breaks down and opens up to the layers underneath. It is important to consult with an experienced DFW wound care doctor at the earliest signs of a foot ulcer for treatment in order to prevent serious complications such as infection or the need for amputation.
Signs of a Diabetic Foot Ulcer
Diabetic patients who have a loss of sensation or feeling in their feet may not realize that they have a foot sore or wound until it turns into an ulcer. Recognizing the earliest signs of a foot ulcer can help in preventing one from developing into a more serious condition. According to our DFW wound care doctor, some common signs of a foot ulcer are:
- Staining on your socks
More serious signs of a foot ulcer can include:
- Foul odor
- Black tissue
- Pain and numbness
Foot Ulcer Complications
A foot ulcer can result from a cut, scrape, or blister on your foot. If you are a diabetic, developing a foot ulcer can be serious. The diabetic foot ulcer may not heal properly due to factors associated with diabetes such as high blood sugar, nerve damage, or poor circulation. If the ulcer does not heal, it can become infected, and the infection can spread to the layers beneath the skin.
Seeking treatment from an experienced DFW wound care doctor at the first sign of a diabetic foot ulcer can prevent and reduce complications. Some complications from a foot ulcer are:
- Infection of the bone or surrounding tissue
- Blood infection
- Amputation of the affected foot or toe to prevent infection from spreading
Treatment Options for Foot Ulcers
A DFW wound care doctor can examine your feet, check for signs of infection, and recommend treatment options for your diabetic foot ulcer based on your specific condition and needs. For foot ulcers that are severely infected or spreading to other areas, hospitalization may be needed.
According to our DFW wound care doctor, some of the most common treatments for a foot ulcer are:
- Off-loading. Off-loading is recommended to take pressure off the ulcer. This can be done by using padding over the ulcer, crutches while walking, a brace or cast on the foot, or a compression wrap.
- Medication. If there are signs of an infection, an antibiotic ointment can be put on the ulcer then covered with a dressing or bandage. An oral antibiotic may also be prescribed to help with infection.
- Cleaning. The ulcer should be kept clean and dry. This can be done by washing the ulcer daily with a mild soap and warm water and changing any dressings or bandages used to cover the ulcer.
- Debridement. Removing any dead skin or tissue by debridement is often done to speed up the healing process. Debridement is done by a podiatrist using a sharp tool to remove the skin and tissue.
- Surgery. If more conservative foot ulcer treatments have not been successful, surgery may be recommended. Surgery can be done to correct a foot deformity such as a hammertoe or bunion that is causing the foot ulcer. Also, shaving or removing bones is an alternative option.
Preventing Diabetic Foot Ulcers
There are several ways to prevent a foot ulcer. In addition to daily checks of your feet for any signs of an ulcer or other abnormality, the following can be done to help with prevention:
- Never walk barefoot, and always wear socks to protect your feet
- Wear shoes that fit properly and do not rub
- Keep your blood sugar under control and monitored
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco products
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have a foot wound that is not healing
Contact Our DFW Wound Care Doctor for a Consultation Today
Diabetic foot ulcers can be easily treated if caught early. If you are diabetic and are experiencing signs of a foot ulcer and need treatment, contact our DFW wound care doctor at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for help. To request an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our convenient online contact form, or call our office today.