Having an open wound increases the chances of infection. If you have a non-healing wound on your lower extremity, it is essential that you see your podiatrist as quickly as possible to prevent infection and further complications. If you have diabetes, you are especially at risk for complications. The sooner a wound is treated the greater the patient's chances are of healing.
One of the most common diabetic foot wounds are foot ulcers. Foot ulcers are open sores or wounds typically located on the bottom of the feet. They’re the leading cause of foot amputations among diabetics. Several factors are attributed to foot ulcers such as obesity, improper fitting shoes or loss of sensation (called diabetic neuropathy).
For diabetics especially, wounds on the foot should be treated as soon as they are noticed to reduce the risk of infections. You may not feel pain associated with ulcers and other types of diabetic foot wounds because many patients suffering from these conditions have lost the ability to feel pain in their feet (called diabetic neuropathy).
The best strategy for preventing complications for diabetes – including foot ulcers – is proper diabetes management with a healthy diet, regular exercise, blood sugar monitoring and adherence to a prescribed medication regimen. Very important is having your feet checked by a podiatrist twice yearly if you are taking insulin and once yearly if you are taking oral medication for diabetes.
Treatment for foot ulcers vary depending on the severity of the wound. In general, the treatment employs methods to remove dead tissue (called debridement)and specialized wound dressing to promote healing. Wounds need to be monitored frequently; frequency depends on the severity of the wound.
Your podiatrist will inspect your foot to make a diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate course of treatment.
Podiatry Fun Facts
- Women are 4 times more likely to have foot problems than men are, mostly due to footwear.
- Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It contributes to your general health by improving circulation and weight control.
- Foot ailments can become your first sign of more serious medical problems. Your feet mirror your general health, so conditions like arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in your feet.