Diabetic patients are most likely to have lower immunity levels in their bodies. Since diabetes is a metabolic disorder that restraints the body to regulate blood sugar efficiently, they cause several complications in the long run. Some of the common complications caused by diabetes include foot problems such as foot ulcers, neuropathy, athlete’s foot, calluses, etc.
Here in this blog, we have outlined everything that you should know about foot ulcers – causes, risk factors, symptoms, prevention, and diabetic foot ulcer treatment options available these days.
What is a diabetic foot ulcer?
A diabetic foot ulcer is a common complication suffered by diabetic patients. A foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that occurs at the bottom of the big toes and the balls of the feet. So, if you are diagnosed with diabetes, you may tend to get foot ulcers that can affect your feet, down to the bone. However, a proper and regular foot care regime can help you prevent their occurrence.
What are the causes of diabetic foot ulcers?
Several reasons cause diabetic foot ulcers. However, some of the common factors that lead to this complication are as follows:
- High blood sugar levels: Hyperglycemia or high glucose levels can drastically damage your nerves and blood vessels over time, lessening the flow of blood, especially to your hands, feet, and limbs. This ultimately makes it harder for the sore or wound to heal quickly.
- Irritation or wound in the feet: A cut or wound on your feet or toes can turn into an ulcer without your notice. In particular, if you are already suffering from neuropathy, you are most likely not to feel the pain in your feet.
- Poor blood circulation: It is another form of vascular disease that reduces the body’s ability to regulate blood flow to your feet efficiently. As a result of poor blood circulation, your diabetic foot ulcer may take a longer time than usual to heal completely.
- Nerve damage: As already stated, elevated glucose levels can cause nerve damage which is a long-term effect. Damaged nerves can be tingy or painful, and lead to a lack of feeling in your feet. It can reduce sensitivity to foot aches and ultimately result in painless wounds like diabetic foot ulcers.
- Athlete’s Foot: A complication such as Athlete’s Foot can turn out to be a serious foot infection in diabetes and develop diabetic foot ulcers. So, right in the initial stage, when you find flaky skin with scales on your feet, consider consulting an Athlete’s Foot specialist. Because if it’s not treated properly, it can lead to tissue death and amputation.
What are the symptoms to identify diabetic foot ulcers?
Although numerous visible signs indicate diabetic foot ulcers, one of the first signs that can help you realize the condition is drainage from your foot. If you find any sort of drainage from your foot causing stains in your socks or leakage in your shoes, consider it a serious condition that requires prompt care.
Other common early symptoms of diabetic foot ulcers include:
- Unusual Swelling
- Bad odors
How to treat diabetic foot ulcers?
One of the best diabetic foot ulcer treatment options is debridement. During the treatment procedure, the podiatrist removes dead skin, tissues, or foreign objects that may have caused the foot ulcer. Once the tissue surrounding the ulcer is removed, it is sent to the lab to determine the right cure.
The medications prescribed for treating diabetic foot ulcers usually include antibiotics, antiplatelets, or anticlotting. It greatly helps in situations when the foot infection increases even after preventive or anti-pressure treatments.
However, if the above-mentioned medications fail to treat the infection, your doctor might recommend seeking surgical help. Surgery can prevent your foot infection from becoming worse, and ultimately leading to amputation.
How to prevent foot ulcers?
Several ways can prevent your diabetic foot ulcers in the first place. However, some of the essential tips for preventing foot ulcers are as follows:
- Control Your Glucose Levels: Keeping your blood sugar levels in check is one of the best ways to prevent sores, wounds, and cuts from causing serious foot infections like diabetic foot ulcers. You can adopt a healthy lifestyle and regular check-ups to prevent frequent spikes in your glucose levels.
- Pay Attention to Your Feet: Check your foot every day to see if there’s any occurrence of blisters, swelling, sores, redness, white spots, discoloration, etc. If you notice any unusual condition on your foot, consult your podiatrist immediately.
- Avoid Walking Barefoot: Walking barefoot can cause injuries to your toes and feet, leading to serious infections like diabetic foot ulcers. Thus, ensure to wear shoes that can cover your whole foot and help you prevent injuries.
Remember, identifying the symptoms of diabetic foot ulcers at the initial stage can be extremely helpful in treating the condition. As soon as you find a sore or wound on your foot or even an Athlete’s foot, see a trusted doctor or an Athlete’s Foot specialist immediately. It’s really important to undergo a diabetic foot ulcer treatment procedure in the first place as untreated foot infections can lead to amputations.