With games like freeze tag, four square, and king of the mountain, scrapes and cuts were bound to happen as a kid. They weren’t as big of a deal back then, but now small blisters and scratches may take a longer time to heal, especially if you have diabetes. If you have problems with circulation and feeling in the lower limbs, your small problems may even turn into ulcers on your feet.
Wounds are No Fun!
Ulcers are open sores or wounds on the feet. In some cases, they are painless and may go unnoticed if someone doesn’t look at their feet all that much. Commonly found on the bottom of the foot, these wounds are at an extremely high risk of getting infected. For people with diabetes, this skin condition is the most common reason for hospital stays. Sometimes, diabetic ulcers never heal and may require amputation of the affected limb.
What Causes the Open Sores
When you place excess pressure on a certain part of your foot, over time the area becomes callused. If it’s aggravated, irritated, or sustains further trauma, the layers of skin that make up the callus may become separated. The space created from the separation fills with fluid, becomes infected, and creates an open wound. This can often happen when someone has complications with diabetes.
Your Risk Increases with Diabetes
Having diabetes increases your risk of developing an ulcer. Spikes in blood sugar can damage your nerves and cause you to lose feeling in the feet. Coupled with poor blood flow, which makes it harder to supply the area with nutrients to heal a scrape, cut, or blister, it’s fairly easy for a wound to go unnoticed and become infected.
Contact us immediately if you notice any signs of infection, which are: redness, swelling, or warmth around the wound; increased firmness, drainage, or pain; pus; odor; fever or chills.
Let Sierra Foot & Ankle Treat You
Ulcers on your feet may first be treated with wet-to-dry dressings to remove dead tissue around the area. People with ulcers may also use skin substitutes—made from human cells, also called fibroblasts, these are placed on a dissolvable mesh material that’s then placed on your skin. Your body slowly absorbs it and the healthy cells replace the damaged tissues. Other wound dressings include simple bandages you can purchase from the drug store or more advanced materials that have special antibacterial medications, both of which are an at-home way to treat this problem. If you have diabetes, though, seek professional help.
You and your family members will be given strict instructions for applying and removing dressings. It’s important that you follow these instructions carefully to ensure that your ulcer heals.
Prevent Further Problems
Wear shoes that don’t put excess pressure on your feet. If you have a foot deformity, take extra caution to make sure your footwear works with—not against—your problem. If you already have an ulcer, we may recommend that you wear a special boot or cast to avoid any further aggravation that may take your area a longer time to heal.
While you’re recovering, try not to walk at all on the affected area. Keeping tight control of your blood sugar levels, if you have diabetes, is also important. Clean the wound daily and make sure to rewrap the area with clean dressings. Keep it bandaged whenever you’re not cleaning your ulcer.
Ulcers on your feet are nothing to play around with, especially diabetic ulcers! Get treatment for your slow-healing wound at Sierra Foot & Ankle in Carson City or Gardnerville, NV. To make an appointment, please call our office at 888-608-8406. You can also find more tips for foot care on our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest page.
Photo Credit: How Soon Ngu via unsplash.com