Good Diabetic Wound Care Also Means Wound Prevention
A diabetic wound or ulcer is never something to treat flippantly. Without the proper treatment, such an injury can easily become much worse than it already is.
Not only might an untreated wound widen or deepen, but the risk of infection is also significant. With infection comes a serious risk to one’s overall health and sometimes the need for amputation.
At Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Centers, we take the needs of our diabetic patients seriously. We are here to provide fast and effective care for diabetic wounds, but also measures to help prevent such dangerous conditions from developing in the first place.
When Should I Seek Help for a Diabetic Wound?
When the complications of diabetes are in play, even a small nick, scrape, or cut has the potential to become worse. Damage to the nerves can make it more difficult for an injury to be noticed, while damage to the circulatory system can interfere with the healing process in the feet.
Any injury on the feet should be closely monitored, no matter its size or severity. Never hesitate to give us a call for any problem you find, as we will always be happy to advise you on what to do next. Especially do not delay if the injury is large, complicated, or you believe it may be infected.
Not every injury will require coming to see us. We might first ask you to monitor the area for one or two days. An injury may still heal on its own, but will need professional attention if it appears not to improve.
While monitoring an injury, make sure to keep it cleaned and covered. If you do not see the wound healing (e.g. forming a scab, bringing the skin together, gradually shrinking in size) within two days, let us know right away.
Treating Diabetic Wounds
We are equipped to treat many diabetic wounds right here in our offices. For cases that need more advanced or specific forms of treatment, we can accommodate you at a nearby wound center instead.
There are several primary goals when treating diabetic wounds:
- Preventing infection
- Cleaning the wound of any foreign materials and dead skin (debridement)
- Taking pressure off the injury to help prevent further damage (off-loading)
- Aiding a faster and more effective recovery
The routes we take to achieve these goals may vary depending on the specific situation and needs of each patient. We will likely apply certain dressings and topical medications, both to help prevent infection and to effectively aid in recovery.
If off-loading is necessary, we might recommend the use of a walking boot, brace, crutches, or other equipment to keep as much weight off the area as possible.
In most cases, diabetic wounds can be effectively treated without any surgical intervention. There are some situations, however, when we may need to perform a reconstructive procedure to help restore a collapsed foot structure (such as Charcot foot) or to address areas of high risk such as bunions or hammertoes.
If surgery is a consideration, we will fully discuss all options with you and answer all questions you may have before any decision must be made.
Preventing Future Diabetic Wounds
We will always be here to respond to any diabetic wound needs our patients have. That said, we would rather see you not have to deal with any dangerous wounds or complications in the first place!
A proactive approach to diabetic foot care – one that aims to reduce risks rather than wait for problems to come along – is a much safer and more comfortable approach to long-term health. It also tends to be relatively simple to keep up with.
A good preventative plan includes:
- Inspecting your feet every day. You can’t address problems if you don’t know they exist. Taking a few moments each day to inspect your feet for signs of injury, discoloration, rashes, warts, or anything else that simply shouldn’t be there is an effective habit to develop. Even if your feet feel fine now, a daily inspection can greatly benefit you in the future when the risks of problems and complications can be higher.
- Wearing supportive footwear. Do not wear shoes that cause friction, constrict your feet, or greatly shift how weight is distributed across your feet (such as high heels). Shoes should be supportive and protective. We might also recommend specially designed diabetic shoes and socks for patients at higher risks.
- Keeping feet clean and cared for. Wash your feet every day with a mild soap and warm water, then make sure they are fully dry before putting on socks and shoes. If your feet become dry, ask us about a good moisturizer to use. Dryness can produce cracks that can pave the way for complications.
- Get an annual diabetic foot care checkup with us. Your self-care is crucial to long-term health, but having a professional in your corner can greatly help too. We can monitor the progression of your foot health over time, and are more likely to identify problems you might not be aware of. The sooner we can act on such things, the better.
- Manage your diabetes well. This doesn’t just help your feet, but your entire body. It is the foundation of any effective plan.
Your Partners in Diabetic Foot Care
A diabetic wound that goes undetected or poorly treated can have a huge impact on your health and mobility. Even if your feet feel perfectly healthy now (and we’re glad if they do!), taking steps now to help prevent future problems is an investment well worth making.
Schedule an appointment for any diabetic care needs by calling our offices or by filling out our online contact form.