For most individuals, a blister or a cut on the foot may be nothing more than a minor inconvenience. It may cause some discomfort, and they may apply antibiotic ointment as a precautionary measure. However, suppose you are among the 30 million Americans living with diabetes. In that case, even a small blister can be the first step towards a path that may lead to amputation or more severe consequences.

Individuals with diabetes often face a double challenge in managing foot wounds. The peripheral nerves in their feet may not function properly, making it difficult to detect cuts or injuries. Additionally, poor circulation can hinder the healing process, giving harmful microorganisms more time to cause infections. On top of that, those microorganisms will be facing an immune system that isn’t as well equipped to stop them.

To prevent a minor problem from becoming a major one, it is crucial to address foot wounds immediately, regardless of pain or apparent growth. Not in a couple of weeks. Not only if it’s painful (if you have severe neuropathy, even severe infections might produce little to no pain). Not only if it seems to be growing. It needs to be dealt with now!

Catch the Problem Early

Proactive wound care involves two essential aspects:

  • Minimizing the duration of the wound (from the original cut or opening to the complete healing of the skin).
  • Ensuring proper protection during the healing process.

When a wound goes unnoticed, both of these aspects are compromised. Therefore, individuals with diabetes are strongly advised to perform a daily self-examination of their feet.

This examination should be conducted at a consistent time, in a well-lit room, and may involve the use of a mirror to thoroughly inspect all parts of the foot. Additionally, it is recommended to check the feet after activities that may cause damage, such as sports.

Any cuts, blisters, ingrown toenails, etc. regardless of their severity, should be attended to immediately. If the condition worsens or does not improve within a day or two, seeking professional medical advice is crucial.

Wound Care Basics

Once a foot wound is identified, the priority is to ensure prompt care to facilitate quick healing. Diabetic wounds require urgent attention, and we strive to accommodate patients as quickly as possible. Effective wound care involves several fundamental components, including debridement, infection prevention and control, and offloading.

  • Debridement: Otherwise known as the cleaning of the wound, involves the removal of dead skin, tissue, and any foreign objects that may hinder the healing process.
  • Preventing/controlling infection: Any medications (including antibiotics) that are deemed necessary to reduce your risk of infection and help you heal faster will be applied. Proper bandaging is also essential to protect the wound and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Offloading: It is important to avoid walking or applying pressure on the ulcer, and depending on the location and severity, we may recommend tools such as a walking boot, crutches, casting, or a wheelchair to allow the wound to heal undisturbed.

During the appointment, patients will receive instructions on proper aftercare, including daily cleansing and changing of bandages. Most wounds will need to be cleaned and have their bandages changed daily; we will show you (and/or your caregiver) how to do this properly.

Managing diabetes and controlling blood sugar levels are critical factors for successful wound healing. Any complications in blood sugar levels could lead to complications in the wounds healing correctly.

Our team may also assess and address any pre-existing foot conditions, such as bone spurs, bunions, or flat arches, that may contribute to an increased risk of developing ulcers. Treatment options such as custom orthotics or diabetic shoes may be recommended to mitigate these risks. We will schedule some follow-up appointments to monitor the progress of wound healing.

Advanced Healing Techniques

To expedite the healing process, healthcare providers may incorporate MLS laser therapy into the treatment plan.

MLS laser therapy utilizes laser energy to stimulate natural biological processes involved in tissue regeneration and anti-inflammation. By increasing blood flow, oxygen supply, and cellular metabolism while reducing scar tissue formation, this advanced therapy promotes faster wound healing.

Although commonly associated with treating soft tissue inflammation, such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis, MLS laser therapy has proven highly effective for diabetic wounds. By stimulating the development of fibroblasts, the cells responsible for collagen synthesis and skin tissue repair, this therapy can accelerate wound closure and shrinkage. Simply put, MLS laser therapy accelerates your wound healing.

Don’t Wait Another Day

Delaying treatment for a foot wound can significantly increase the risk of infection and have severe consequences. We’re not kidding around when we say that the decision to come in right away could be the difference between making a complete recovery versus losing your foot entirely.

Foot wounds require urgent attention, and it is crucial to seek treatment from professionals with extensive training and access to state-of-the-art technology. At Capital Podiatry Associates, we provide comprehensive care for individuals with diabetes and their foot wounds. To schedule an appointment at our office in Alexandria, please call (703) 560-3773 today.

Remember, never underestimate the importance of prompt wound care when you have diabetes. Your proactive approach today can safeguard your foot health and overall well-being tomorrow.

8101 Hinson Farm Rd Ste 301, Alexandria, VA 22306

(FAX) 703-799-0050

Mon-Fri: 8a - 4p