Foot ulcers are open sores on your skin that don't heal properly, and they're a major problem for people with diabetes. Here's what you need to know about this potentially serious complication:
Why does diabetes cause foot ulcers?
High blood sugar levels damage your nerves, especially in your extremities. This causes peripheral neuropathy, a condition that makes your feet feel numb and weak. Once this happens, you can't feel injuries to your feet like pressure from your shoes or cuts from stepping on something sharp. This damage can allow an ulcer to form.
Do lots of diabetics get foot ulcers?
Foot ulcers are a very common complication of diabetes. They affect about 15% of people with diabetes at some point during their lives. Foot ulcers are also one of the biggest causes of hospitalization among diabetics. About one-fifth of all hospital admissions of diabetics are caused by foot ulcers.
How are foot ulcers treated?
Foot ulcers are treated by surgically removing any dead tissue around the ulcer and keeping pressure off of the foot. This means that you'll be put on bed rest, sometimes for as long as 2 weeks. If the ulcer is infected, you'll be given antibiotics. These methods are the standard treatments for foot ulcers, but they don't always work. Ulcers should heal in less than a month, but if yours isn't healed, you'll need further treatments.
Stubborn ulcers can be treated with plasma. Plasma is full of platelets, and platelets are essential for the healing process. The plasma will be injected directly into your ulcer, and then the wound will be covered with a dressing.
What happens if foot ulcers aren't treated?
If foot ulcers aren't treated, they won't get better on their own. Many complications can result from an untreated ulcer, such as infections or gangrene. These problems can necessitate amputation of the foot, and in severe cases, death is possible.
How can you prevent foot ulcers?
If you have diabetes, you need to be very careful with your feet. Make sure to wear diabetic socks and well-fitting shoes, even when you're inside your house. People with diabetes should never walk around in bare feet due to the risk of getting a foot injury that could lead to an ulcer. You should check your feet for injuries every single day since ulcers can develop quickly.
Foot ulcers are a major concern for diabetics. Make sure to look after your feet and check them every day for signs of problems. If you notice any changes, see your podiatrist right away. For more information and help, contact a professional like Dr. Russell Newsom.