A diabetic foot ulcer is an apparent sore or wound that afflicts about 15% of diabetic individuals and is most typically found on the bottom of the foot. Six percent of people who get a foot ulcer will end up in the hospital owing to infection or another ulcer-related problem.
In the US, diabetes is the most significant cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations, with 14-24 percent of diabetic patients who develop a foot ulcer requiring an amputation. Eighty-five percent of diabetes-related amputations are preceded by foot ulceration. However, research has shown that the formation of a foot ulcer can be avoided.
Anyone with diabetes is at hazard of developing a foot ulcer. Ulcers are more common in Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, and older men. Insulin users and people with diabetes-related kidney, eye, and heart illnesses are more likely to develop a foot ulcer. Obesity and the use of alcohol and tobacco contribute to the development of foot ulcers.
Ulcers develop due to several conditions, including a loss of feeling in the feet, poor circulation, foot abnormalities, irritation (such as friction or pressure), trauma, and diabetic duration. Neuropathy, a diminished or complete lack of capacity to sense pain in the feet caused by nerve damage induced by rising blood glucose levels over time, can develop in patients with diabetes who have had it for an extended period. Nerve damage can occur without causing pain, and the patient may be unaware of the problem. A simple, painless piece of equipment called a monofilament can be used by your podiatrist to evaluate your feet for neuropathy.
A foot ulcer might be complicated by vascular disease, which reduces the body’s ability to heal and increases the risk of infection. Blood glucose levels that are excessively high can decrease the body’s ability to fight infection and potentially hinder healing.
Pain is not a typical sign of foot ulcer since many persons who get them have lost their sense of pain. Many times, the first thing you’ll notice is that your socks are dripping. The ulceration may be accompanied by redness and swelling, and scent if it has advanced significantly.
Seek podiatric medical attention as soon as you notice an ulcer. Patients with diabetes should have their foot ulcers treated to reduce the risk of infection and amputation, improve function and quality of life, and save money on healthcare.
The primary goal of treating foot ulcers is to have them heal as quickly as possible. The faster the wound heals, the lower the risk of infection.
There are numerous vital aspects to consider when treating a diabetic foot ulcer:
• Infection prevention
• Off-loading is the process of removing pressure from a specific region.
• Debridement (removal of dead skin and tissue)
• Treating the ulcer with medication or dressings
• Managing blood sugar levels and other health issues
Although not all ulcers are infected, if your podiatrist discovers an infection, antibiotics, wound care and potentially hospitalization will be required.
It is critical to keep blood glucose levels under strict control, keep the ulcer clean and wrapped, cleanse the wound daily with a wound dressing or bandage, and avoid walking barefoot to prevent an ulcer from becoming infected.
Ulcers, particularly those on the bottom of the foot, must be “off-loaded” for optimal healing. You may need to use special footwear, a brace, or customized castings, as well as a wheelchair or crutches. These gadgets will help speed up the healing process by reducing pressure and inflammation in the ulcer area.
Over the last ten years, the science of wound care has progressed dramatically. The traditional adage of “letting the air get at it” has been proven detrimental to recovery. We know that keeping wounds and ulcers covered and moist helps them heal faster and reduces the chance of infection. Full-strength betadine, hydrogen peroxide, whirlpools, and soaking are not advised because they can cause additional difficulties.
Dressings and topically administered drugs are all part of proper wound treatment. Normal saline, growth factors, ulcer dressings, and skin substitutes are among the products that have been particularly useful in treating foot ulcers.