A small problem, when left unattended, has the potential to turn into something dire. This is true for life in general, but can be particularly devastating in the case of a diabetic wound.
Even a small nick to the foot can turn into a serious ulcer, thanks to several factors that can work against a diabetic patient. Quickly discovering wounds of any size and giving them the prompt and thorough care they need is essential to preventing major complications.
How Diabetic Wounds Form
The effects of diabetes are a recipe for disaster as far as wounds are concerned.
The feet are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of diabetes on circulation. This is mainly because the feet are already so far from the heart that it’s naturally a challenge to pump blood to them without additional trouble.
Among the first parts of the feet to suffer from these effects is the nerves. As they become damaged (peripheral neuropathy), the ability to sense things like temperature and pain in the feet gradually diminish. This can eventually mean that injuries to the feet will go entirely unfelt.
Add to this the fact that poor circulation to the feet can also inhibit the ability to heal and it’s a very dangerous combination. If an injury goes unnoticed and untreated, it may not heal quickly enough against the constant irritation of continuing to walk on it. Instead, that small cut grows larger and deeper, and can even grow infected.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, about 14-24 percent of diabetic patients who develop a foot ulcer each year will require an amputation due to infection or other complications.
It’s a terrible result, but it’s also one that can be preventable.
Diabetic Wound Care
The first step of a good diabetic wound care program is identifying potential problems before they ever have a chance to become serious!
This begins at home, with a daily diabetic foot inspection. Every day, look and even feel along your feet for signs of abnormalities. These can include small cuts, sores, ingrown toenails, discolorations, places that feel extra warm to the touch—anything out of the ordinary.
If something is found, the best practice is to give us a call and let us know about it. We can then decide whether it’s best to keep an eye on the spot for the next few days or come in for a closer examination.
When a wound needs treatment, our priorities lie in properly cleaning debris and dead tissue from the area (debridement), preventing/controlling infection, and encouraging healing.
Once debridement and bandaging have been performed, different methods might be employed to encourage the healing process. These might involve taking pressure off the injured area through the use of a cast, brace, or custom orthotics. It might also involve laser therapy to encourage blood flow and cell repair.
Don’t Wait on Wound Care!
The sooner a potential problem is discovered and treatment begun, the much less likely you are to face worse complications down the road.
Capital Podiatry Associates can be a key part of your diabetic care team. Not only can we address wounds when discovered, but periodic checkups can identify and take care of underlying dangers before they arise.
Call us at (703) 560-3773 or use our online form to contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have.