Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Diabetic foot ulcers are actually closely connected to diabetes foot care, diabetic nerve pain, and diabetic neuropathy.
According to experts, approximately 10 % of those who have diabetes have a foot ulcer at least once in their life. The foot ulcers might impact those who have both type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes.
As a matter of fact, diabetes impacts foot ulcers in many ways, therefore its crucial for people with this chronic disease to understand the potentially serious consequences of having an untreated foot ulcer.
What Is a Foot Ulcer?
Foot ulcers are a frequent complication of diabetes which is poorly controlled. The foot ulcers form due to breaking down of skin tissue and exposing the layers which are found underneath.
The most common foot ulcers occur under the balls of the feet and the big toes. Moreover, they might impact the feet all down to the bones. All people who have this chronic disease might develop foot pain and foot ulcers.
But the good news is that proper foot care might help prevent the foot ulcers. Moreover, the treatment depends on the cause of foot pain and ulcers.
It’s essential to discuss any discomfort or foot pain with a doctor in order to ensure that it’s not a severe issue because infected ulcers might lead to amputation if they are left neglected.
Risk Factors for Foot Ulcers
- Poor quality or poorly fitted shoes
- Tobacco use
- Kidney disease
- Poor hygiene
- Heart disease
- Alcohol consumption
- Eye disease as a result of diabetes
- Improper trimming of the toenails
One of the first symptoms of foot ulcers is drainage from the foot which might leak in the shoe or stain the socks. Unusual redness, irritation, odors, and swelling are also other common signs.
A visible sign of severe foot ulcer is a black tissue around the ulcer. Complete or partial gangrene, which actually refers to dead tissue because of infections might occur around the ulcer. In case this happens, odorous discharge, numbness, and pain might occur.
Causes of Ulcers and Foot Pain
- Nerve damage
- Poor circulation
- Hyperglycemia, i.e., high blood glucose
- Wounded or irritated feet
How to Avoid Foot Ulcers
Those who have diabetes need to get their feet checked by a healthcare professional or a doctor, at least once a year. Identifying the sighs like reduced feeling and immediate acting on them should help avoid and prevent foot ulcers.
Treating Foot Ulcers
In order to treat foot ulcers, the doctor might recommend wearing some items in order to protect the feet.
Items such as:
- Compression wraps
- Diabetic shoes
- Shoe inserts to prevent calluses and corns
Doctors are able to get rid of the diabetic foot ulcers with the help of debridement, removing dead skin, infections or foreign objects which might have caused that ulcer. An infection is a severe complication of foot ulcers, and it needs immediate treatment.
However, not all infections get the same treatment. The tissue around the ulcer might be sent to a laboratory in order to discover which antibiotic might help.
In case one’s doctor suspects of a severe infection, they might order an X-ray in order to look for any signs of bone infection. Moreover, there are different medications and in some severe cases surgical procedures.
In case someone notices diabetic foot ulcers early, they should know that they can treat them. They need to consult a doctor immediately in case they have a sore on the foot because the likelihood of an infection elevates the longer they wait. Remember, prevention is the key.