The problem with holes or cracks is that they tend to get bigger the more you press on them. Imagine a small rip or hole in a sweater. The more you poke or press on it, the more it tends to unravel. Your body does this too, especially if you have a serious disease like diabetes. A small problem on your foot can quickly become a large one with a little pressure. Fortunately, experienced diabetic wound care can help you save your feet from permanent damage.
Part of what makes the body so amazing is its immune system and ability to heal. When you have diabetes, however, all that is compromised. Your body responds more slowly to injuries and infections, which gives those problems time to take hold and wreak real havoc. Combined with the effects of peripheral neuropathy, which make it more likely that injuries to your feet will go unnoticed, you have a risk for developing skin ulcers. These wounds need special treatment as soon as possible, or they could require amputation. Diabetic wound care is the special treatment of those limb or life-threatening ulcers on your feet or ankles.
These ulcers are the leading cause of all diabetic amputations. Usually they start small: a cut, a blister, or a sore spot on the skin. If your lower limbs have lost some feeling from nerve damage, however, you may not be able to feel that. Most likely you would continue walking and putting pressure on the injured area. Because your body has a hard time healing itself, the little issue doesn’t resolve. Instead, the regular stress on it makes it worse. If you don’t check your feet regularly for changes, you may still not notice the problem—until it gets infected, or becomes too large to ignore. By then the wound is a full-blown ulcer.
Healing a Wound
Once you notice you have a problem, you need to seek immediate diabetic wound care. Failing to do so could cost you your foot—or even your life—if an infection spreads. Most likely you will notice redness or swelling in the affected foot. You might have fluid drainage in your socks and notice a foul odor as well. If you think you have an ulcer, the experienced podiatrists at Martin Foot and Ankle will see in you in the office right away for evaluation and treatment.
They will examine the wound and may run different tests to check for an infection. Your ulcer will then be cleaned to avoid additional risks. You may need to have dead, damaged skin cut away from the injury for it to be able to heal properly. This can be done multiple ways, from using a scalpel to applying special dressings or other remedies. Once the wound is cleaned and prepared, it doctors will apply a dressing. They may treat the area with medications as they cover it carefully. This dressing will need to be changed as you recover, but it will help protect your foot from an infection. You will most likely need to remove pressure from the affected foot to avoid additional damage as well. Serious ulcers with infections that have set in may need to be amputated to keep the sickness from spreading and becoming deadly. Most ulcers that are caught early, however, won’t need such drastic treatment.
Since ulcers can be dangerous for your lower limbs—and even your body as a whole—don’t neglect your foot and ankle health if you have diabetes. The podiatry team at Martin Foot and Ankle can help you maintain your lower limbs before something serious occurs. If you do develop a problem, contact our offices in York, Lancaster, Lititz and Hanover for an appointment or more information. Call us at (717) 757-3537 or visit the online contact page to reach us.