What Causes Foot Ulcers in Those with Diabetes?
Individuals with diabetes often have 2 complications that jeopardize foot health. Neuropathy or nerve damage is caused by prolonged exposure to high blood sugar and reduces sensation, especially in the feet. The second problem is poor blood circulation, also caused by high levels of glucose in the blood that leads to hardening of the arteries.
So if someone with diabetes gets even a small cut on their foot, they might not notice it because of the neuropathy - and poor blood circulation will delay healing. This is a bad combination that can cause a minor injury to deteriorate to a serious wound like an ulcer.
Foot ulcers are common in patients whose diabetes is poorly controlled. When damaged, the skin tissue breaks down and the underlying tissue is exposed even down to the bone.
Treating a Foot Ulcer or Wound
Please come in to see us at Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute if you notice any injury to your feet, especially a persistent one that is not healing. After a comprehensive exam, we'll bandage the injured area carefully to prevent infection. You'll need to keep the weight off that foot to promote healing. After the sore is healed, a custom-fitted orthotic can redistribute pressure to relieve excessive stress.
In those with diabetes, ulcers do not heal by themselves! Prompt, professional treatment is essential to stop the advance of the ulcer which can even lead to toe or foot amputation.
Watch Your Feet To Avoid Foot Ulcers
Even if you have diabetes, you can avoid dangerous foot ulcers by managing your diabetes and monitoring the condition of your feet:
- Inspect your feet daily and make it part of your daily routine. Check for any type of blister, cut, sore or unusual color. Use a mirror to see the soles.
- Wash your feet every day with warm - not hot - water and soap. Dry carefully especially between the toes.
- Smooth on an emollient foot cream to keep skin soft.
- Don't go barefoot - you need to protect your feet. Choose supportive, well-fitting shoes with lots of toe room.
- Trim toenails straight across - don't round the corners to avoid ingrown toenails. We can trim your nails for you if you find it difficult.
- Never cut corns or calluses - ask us for help.
- Manage your diabetes as directed by your doctor with the proper medications, diet and exercise.
Come see us for comprehensive foot evaluations every 6 months to ensure that your feet are healthy.
Get Help Quickly If You Suspect That You Have a Foot Ulcer
Dr. John Schilero, DPM, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience with foot problems and foot care for those with diabetes. Please call us at 561-694-7776 EXT. 41 to make an appointment at one of our four offices conveniently located in Palm Beach County. You can also request an appointment at the website. Don't delay getting help for any foot injury if you have diabetes - your feet depend on it!