Diabetic foot wound care and treatment in the Harris County, TX: Willowbrook, Lakewood Forest, Jersey Village, Louetta, Klein, Hedwig Village, Cypress (Bridgeland), Copperfield Place (Park Row), and Northwest Houston areas

Diabetic Foot Wound Care

Wounds on the feet are a common occurrence in people who have diabetes. This is because those with diabetes also tend to have peripheral neuropathy and circulatory issues, which are two common complications of diabetes that affect the feet. The combination of these two secondary diseases can lead to the development of wounds and, ultimately, non-healing wounds (ulcers).

How Does a Diabetic Foot Wound Develop?

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can cause loss of sensation in the lower limbs, and poor blood circulation. Numbness in the feet can make it difficult or even impossible for the diabetic to detect an injury to the skin on the feet. Thus, any small cut, scrape, or sore on diabetic feet may go unnoticed. Not being aware of these injuries prevents a person from treating it. Meanwhile, poor blood flow to the area can mean that any injury will heal slowly, poorly, or not at all. Left undetected and untreated, even small wounds can become diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), which can become infected and lead to serious medical complications, up to and including amputation in the worst-case scenarios.

When Diabetic Wounds Don’t Heal

Wounds in a person with diabetes can be dangerous. A diabetic wound can heal slowly, not heal properly, or in some cases, never heal, making it an ulcer. Ulcers that are not healed promptly and properly have the potential of becoming infected and, sometimes, this infection may even spread to nearby tissue and bone, which is a serious health issue. An infection, and/or lack of blood flow can cause tissue to die, which is known as gangrene. Dead tissue must be surgically removed to prevent bacteria from entering and spreading through the bloodstream. This procedure is known as debridement. Early detection and intervention are extremely important in mitigating the risk to healthy tissue, and to prevent an amputation from becoming necessary.

Wound Prevention

Fortunately, there are steps that those with diabetes can take to care for their feet and prevent the formation of DFUs. Along with managing their glucose levels and inspecting their feet daily, diabetic patients should take care of their feet every day. People with diabetes should wear shoes and socks when walking to avoid foot injuries. The shoes should fit properly, cushion the feet, and have a low heel. Feet should be washed and dried daily, toenails should be carefully trimmed. When trimming the toenails, nail clippers should be used to cut the nails straight across and not too short. This helps prevent ingrown toenails, which can become infected and lead to DFUs. Finally, it is important to be vigilant of any potential foot problems by inspecting the feet daily for any irregularities, such as cuts, scrapes, sores, discoloration, swelling, cracked skin, redness, bumps, lumps, ingrown toenails, pain, or any strange sensations like numbness, burning, or tingling. Anything out of the ordinary should be reported to a podiatrist immediately.

To learn more about how to care for diabetic feet and prevent and treat foot wounds, please speak with a podiatrist.

Wound Care (FAQs)

What are diabetic foot wounds? 
Diabetic foot wounds are cuts, scrapes, or sores that occur on the feet of people who have diabetes. Although they may seem inconsequential, even small wounds are a cause for concern. This is because people with diabetes are less likely to feel the wound due to nerve damage in the feet, delaying treatment until the wound has progressed. Poor circulation to the feet can also make the wounds heal slowly, increasing the risk of infection. Left untreated, wounds can turn into diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). 
Why do diabetic wounds heal slowly? 
Diabetic wounds tend to heal slowly because many people with diabetes also have poor circulation in their lower limbs. When there is inadequate blood flow to the feet and ankles, the nutrients needed for efficient, effective healing cannot get to the wounds quickly enough. When the wounds heal slowly and poorly, the chances of further damage to the surrounding skin and infection go up.  
What should I do if I notice a diabetic foot wound?
If you are diabetic and notice a wound on your foot, you should seek the care of a podiatrist as soon as possible. The earlier treatment begins, the better your chances are of avoiding complications. 
How are diabetic foot wounds treated?
Treatments for diabetic foot wounds vary depending on the location and severity of the wound. Generally, your podiatrist will focus on disinfecting the wound, removing any dead tissue, and creating an environment on the foot that is conducive to healing. You will likely need to keep any pressure off of the wound while it heals. This can be achieved through resting the affected foot, padding it, wearing orthotics, or using devices designed to off-load pressure. 
How can I prevent diabetic foot wounds?
The best way to prevent diabetic foot wounds is to remain proactive. When walking inside or outside the home, wear shoes to protect your feet from injuries. Maintain proper foot hygiene to reduce the risk of infections. Since loss of sensation through diabetic neuropathy is also common among people with diabetes, daily visual inspection of the feet for any cuts, scrapes, sores, wounds, or discoloration is also suggested. If you notice any changes in your feet, you should schedule an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible. 

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