For many people, a simple scratch or blister isn’t anything to worry about. That’s life, right? For the estimated 29.1 million Americans living with diabetes, however, sometimes even the smallest cuts can become incredibly serious if you’re not extremely careful with care and prevention.
Diabetes affects every part of the body, even your feet, as it causes poor circulation and sensation. With poor circulation, this means you might experience longer and more difficult healing times than others without diabetes. Additionally, many people with diabetes can’t feel their feet due to a lack of sensation, which can make wound detection very difficult.
According to the Future of Health Care, around 25 percent of people living with diabetes will develop wounds in their lifetime, with recurrence rates for wounds within five years being close to 70 percent. Meanwhile, the American Podiatric Medical Association found that around 6 percent of diabetics with foot ulcers or wounds will be hospitalized due to infection or other complications.
As many diabetics experience dulled sensation in their feet, it can be challenging to know when a wound or problem area has developed. To stay healthy and prevent complications, check your feet regularly for any size cut, scrape, or blister. Monitor them carefully to make sure they don’t become an open wound or ulcer.
Common symptoms of foot ulcers may include potential drainage in your socks, redness or swelling, and even odor if the wound has progressed significantly. Please seek medical help immediately, if this is the case.
Home Treatment and Prevention
If you notice a wound on your foot, please seek professional medical care immediately and don’t try to treat the situation yourself – leave this level of care to the experts. What you can and should do is check your feet every day and conduct proper foot care.
To prevent any foot ulcers or wounds, make sure you wash your feet daily, avoid walking barefoot, wear supportive shoes, inspect your feet daily, carefully trim your toenails, and visit your podiatrist periodically.
People with well-managed diabetes are less likely to suffer from wounds that won’t heal, so it is always imperative to keep your blood sugars within your target range, eat a healthy diet, and avoid smoking. While your doctor can support you once you get a wound, it’s always best to aim for prevention.
When to See Us
You should never wait to seek podiatric medical care once you notice a wound or ulcer developing on your foot. As wounds that don’t heal can become life threatening for diabetics, you should always seek medical help to reduce the risk of infection or amputation.
If you have diabetes and have located a wound or ulcer, please come in to see our office podiatrist, Dr. Brad Gipson, right away. Once there, you can ask about the best prevention methods and how to take care of your stubborn wounds that refuse to go away.
Once you come into the office, we will assess the severity of your wound and recommend a treatment plan. This plan may include anything from antibiotic treatment to cleaning the wound to surgical treatment to removing dead tissue.
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Come see us today for regular foot exams and to help prevent wound formation.