Individuals with diabetes usually have two strikes against them when it comes to foot health: neuropathy and peripheral artery disease, or poor circulation.
In combination, these two conditions mean that any small injury to the foot won’t heal properly and can quickly worsen into a serious problem.
Neuropathy is nerve damage and is often a complication of diabetes, although there are other causes too. A person with neuropathy loses some of the sensation in the extremities including the feet. If the foot is injured with a cut, puncture wound or even a blister, the patient won’t know it and the skin damage can worsen into an ulcer where the tissue under the skin is exposed.
Poor blood circulation, or peripheral artery disease, means that there is reduced flow to the legs and feet. This will slow healing of any wound, giving it a greater chance of worsening into a sore and ulcer.
Prompt Treatment Is Essential For Foot Ulcers
If you notice a blister, cut or sore on your foot that isn’t healing, please call Your Next Step as soon as possible. This is extra important if you have diabetes. We’ll first give you prescription antibiotics to fight off the infection. We’ll protect the wound while it heals with careful bandaging.
Next, to keep the weight off the area while it heals, we’ll create custom-fitted orthotics to relieve the pressure from the area of the sore.
Without prompt treatment, an ulcer can worsen, affecting the underlying tissue and even bone. Ultimately, if the wound doesn’t heal, amputation of the toe or foot may be required.
One Step To Avoid Foot Ulcers: Manage Your Diabetes
If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar at healthy levels can help reduce the risk of serious foot complications. Here are some tips to follow:
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly and take all medications per your doctor’s orders.
- Check both feet, including the soles, carefully every day for any injuries.
- Take good care of your feet by washing every day and drying carefully. Smooth on moisturizer to keep skin supple.
- Wear roomy, comfortable shoes that fit well and don’t chafe any areas. Always wear warm socks underneath and avoid going barefoot.
- With your doctor’s permission, keep up an exercise program and follow a healthy diet.
- Trim toenails straight instead of rounding the corners. Don’t cut corns or calluses. We can help keep your toenails trimmed and reduce corns and calluses.
Learn more in our blogs on Foot Care Tips for Diabetes, Choosing Footwear for Neuropathy and Diabetic Nail Care.
Act Quickly if You Suspect a Foot Ulcer
A sore that has escalated to an ulcer won’t heal by itself. Please contact Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, board certified or qualified podiatrists for help with persistent foot sores. You can reach us with the contact information at the website for our Ardmore, Paoli and Downingtown offices. Call today to begin the healing process.