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Prompt Medical Treatment For Diabetic Foot Wounds Is Important For Preventing Infections And Amputation

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If you have diabetes, you probably know the medical condition can affect your feet. You may even have neuropathy already and notice a reduction in sensation in your feet along with a decrease in circulation. These foot complications of diabetes create an ideal setting for foot ulcers, infections, and wounds that are slow to heal. Foot wounds are a serious threat when you have diabetes, since a wound can lead to amputation, so you should seek prompt treatment when you notice a foot injury. Here's how to monitor for foot problems and some treatments your podiatrist might provide.

Examine Your Feet Daily To Spot Problem Areas

When you've lost feeling in your feet, you can't rely on pain to be a signal for a foot problem. Instead, you should examine your feet all over every day. If you see a small ulcer or cut, call your podiatrist for an appointment. You might also notice your socks have drainage on them when you take the socks off. This is an indication of an ulcer that's leaking or bleeding, and you want immediate treatment. Quick treatment is essential for diabetic foot wounds.

Also, consider seeing a podiatrist if you notice areas of your feet or toes that seem to be red from rubbing on your shoes all day. While many diabetic wounds are on the soles of your feet, it's possible to get a wound on a toe or top of your foot if it is rubbed and irritated by shoes or a sock wrinkle all day. Any time you see a foot abnormality, watch it closely and call your podiatrist for advice and treatment.

Foot Wound Treatments You Might Receive

Your podiatrist has different options for your wound care depending on the location of the ulcer and how bad it is. One of the first steps is usually to keep you off the affected foot so blood can flow freely and not be restricted because of weight bearing. Your podiatrist may use a cast of some sort so you can't walk on your foot. You may also need crutches or a wheelchair.

You may be advised to keep your foot covered to help prevent an infection. Your podiatrist may put a bandage on it, and depending on the severity of the wound, you may need to have the wound cleaned and a new bandage put on by a nurse or podiatrist on a regular basis until the wound starts to heal. You might also change your bandage at home and apply topical medication that fights infection so your wound can heal quicker.

At some point, it may be necessary to cut away diseased tissue around the wound so the dying tissue doesn't contribute to an infection. One problem with diabetes is that a wound can be very slow to heal due to the decrease in circulation, so the wound may be open for a long time. This increases the risk of infection and also lengthens the recovery time.

Medical treatments are sometimes given to help a wound heal quicker. Skin cells might be placed in the wound so new skin will grow and cover the ulcer more quickly and promote better healing. Your podiatrist might try hyperbaric oxygen treatments, ozone therapy, or skin grafts. However, one of the most important medical treatments for diabetic foot wound care is to keep your blood sugar controlled, and you may need to work with an endocrinologist for that.