Diabetic Wound Care
Diabetes has effects on many different areas of your physical health, but it can be easy to overlook how it affects foot health. When you lose sight of this and neglect your foot care, it can put you at risk for serious complications. A comprehensive diabetic foot care plan created by your foot doctor centers on safety and health, including the importance of effective wound care.
Types of Diabetic Wounds
When we use the term “wound” (as it relates to diabetes), we are talking about issues like burns, bumps, bruises, blisters, cuts, calluses, and even ingrown toenails. Basically, any condition, injury, or structural formation out of the ordinary can be cause for concern.
There are essentially two overall types of diabetic wounds – those of internal origin and those of external origin. Wounds with internal origins (like pressure points from bones that move out of position) can lead to skin and tissue breakdown, which then increases the risk of potentially-dangerous infections. External wounds (like blisters from ill-fitting shoes or a cut from a sharp stone) can do the same, especially if nerve damage (neuropathy) causes them to go unnoticed and untreated for extended periods of time.
Wound Signs and Symptoms
There are various different signs and symptoms indicating the presence of a diabetic wound, including:
- Chronic pain (but it should be noted that complete painlessness might also be a potential sign)
- Signs of inflammation – swelling, heat, pain, redness, and loss of function
- Signs of infection – drainage, foul odor, discharge, and dead tissue
- Dullness of physical sensation or new numbness
- Chills and/or fever, which are often indications of a worsening infection
- Risk Factors for Wounds
All individuals should treat foot wounds with proper care, but there are various factors in play with diabetes that enhance the risks posed by these seemingly minor issues, such as:
- Immune system deficiency – Diabetes decreases the effectiveness of the immune system as a whole due to certain hormones and enzymes produced in response to elevated glucose levels.
- Diabetic neuropathy – The inability to feel an injury when it happens leaves one unable to care for it in a proper manner to reduce the risk of infection.
- Impaired blood flow – Blood carries both the white and red cells that fight infection and provide nutrients, respectively.
- Blood sugar levels – Elevated levels lead to narrower blood vessels, which diminishes your body’s ability to provide blood to affected areas.
Diabetic Wound Treatment
Medical treatment for diabetic wounds only provides limited help, so prevention is truly the best course of action. That being said, care for a wound might include:
- Ensuring that all wounds are clean and dressed properly.
- The use of antibiotics to either decrease the risk of infection or help with infected wounds.
- Surgical debridement, which is removing infected or dead tissue as a method to enable healthy tissue to grow.
- In severe cases (when a serious infection exists), amputation may be used to salvage as much of a limb as possible.
Preventing Diabetic Wounds
When it comes to preventing diabetic wounds, the best place is to start with your diabetic foot care plan. If you don’t have one, now is the time to get started. An effective plan includes daily inspection of the feet, proper hygienic practices, wearing proper footwear, and regular appointments with our office. Our staff will be glad to help you put together a plan that works best for you.
Professional Diabetic Foot Care
There are many considerations when it comes to diabetic foot care, but Dr. Tejas Pandya, DPM can help you develop a plan that protects your feet, allows you to catch issues at early stages, and reduces your risk of serious complications. If you’re already suffering from diabetic wounds, our EpiFix® treatment can help. Call Capital District Podiatry today at (518) 273-0053 or schedule your appointment at our Clifton Park or Troy, NY podiatry offices online today.