Foot ulcers can be troublesome for anyone but especially for diabetics. Having diabetes or other conditions can put you at risk for developing an ulcer on your foot. An ulcer is caused by skin tissue breaking down and opening up to the layers beneath. For those with diabetes, the ulcer may not be able to heal, and the person may not realize they have one until it is too late. Not only can an ulcer lead to further complications, it can also lead to infection and amputation if it's not properly taken care of by a Keller wound care specialist. With that in mind, it is important to diagnose and treat a foot ulcer early, so other problems do not develop.
Risk Factors for Developing Foot Ulcers
Those with diabetes are at risk for developing foot ulcers due to:
- High blood sugar
- Poor circulation
- Nerve damage
- Wounded or injured feet
Some other risk factors that can contribute to the development of foot ulcers are:
- Shoes that are too tight or rub and cause blisters
- Not washing feet properly and drying between the toes
- Consuming alcohol or using tobacco products
- Kidney disease
Symptoms and Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcers
It is important to recognize the symptoms of a foot ulcer, so you can seek treatment immediately. Some people with diabetes have decreased feeling in their feet that can cause them to not realize that they even have a foot ulcer. Some common symptoms of diabetic foot ulcers include:
- Visible open sore on the foot
- Pain and irritation
- Swelling around the sore
- Discharge or leaking from the sore
- Black tissue forming around the sore
- Foul-smell coming from the area of the sore
- Thickened skin near the sore
If you have an ulcer on your foot that is not healing or is getting worse, consult with your Keller wound care specialist. Your specialist can examine and evaluate your foot ulcer and recommend necessary treatment based on the severity of the problem.
Some wound care treatment options for a foot ulcer include:
- Daily cleaning. An ulcer should be cleaned with a mild soap and water daily. Do not use hot water or harsh soaps as they could make the ulcer worse and not heal properly.
- Dress the wound. An ulcer can be kept covered with a sterile dressing or bandage as recommended by your Keller wound care doctor. This can help prevent germs and bacteria from getting into the ulcer and causing an infection.
- Reduce pressure. Keep pressure off the area of the ulcer to allow it to heal. You may need to use a brace, crutches, or padding to reduce any pressure to the area of your foot ulcer. Orthotics can also be used to help relieve pressure.
- Medication. A topical ointment may be recommended by your doctor to help aid in healing your diabetic foot ulcer. An antibiotic medication may also be needed if the ulcer is infected.
- Debridement. Your Keller wound care doctor may need to debride the area of the diabetic foot ulcer. This surgical procedure involves cleaning the ulcer by using a scalpel to remove any dead or infected tissue from the wound.
Not all diabetic foot ulcers can be prevented, but there are ways that you can help ensure that an ulcer doesn’t become a problem. Some tips to consider include:
- Maintaining a healthy blood sugar
- Conducting daily checks of your feet to look for any wounds or areas of concern
- Quitting smoking and drinking
- Not walking barefoot and wearing shoes or socks
- Seeking care at the first signs of a problem
Contact Our Keller Wound Care Specialist With Questions
If you have a sore on your foot that is not healing or have questions about diabetic foot ulcers, our Keller wound care doctors at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists can help. To request an appointment at either of our two convenient Tarrant County locations, fill out our convenient online contact form, or call our office today.