Diabetic Ulcers

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Image Credit: Woundsource

Your health is what you make of it. Everything you do and think either adds to the vitality, energy and spirit you possess or takes away from it. Ann Wigmore

Diabetes is a condition that must be monitored carefully. While by itself it can have adverse effects on the body, there are additional peripheral conditions that are induced by the diabetic condition. Diabetes, coupled with poor circulation can lead to conditions such as diabetic foot ulcers. The extremities of the bodies are particularly prone to sores due to the fact that with conditions such as peripheral artery disease, patients often cannot feel sensations in their feet.

A diabetic foot ulcer is a wound that develops due to wearing away of the skin on the feet. Approximately 15 percent of the diabetic population is prone to this condition. Located predominantly on the soles of the feet, there are downstream conditions that result from ulcers. If they are not treated properly, eventually the leg may have to be amputated. Fortunately there are processes that a foot and ankle surgeon can administer to salvage the foot and prevent it from any further degradation. According to industry statistics, up to 24 percent of patients who develop foot ulcers require amputation. At 25% as the upper range, this is a significant number of the population. In this instance, prevention is better than cure.

Root Causes of Diabetic Ulcers

The following persons are prone to diabetic ulcers:

1)       Diabetics who are treated with insulin

2)       Diabetics with auxiliary conditions such as kidney, eye and vascular conditions

3)       Diabetics who aggravate their conditions by smoking and using alcohol

Diabetes ultimately develops neuropathy, which is a reduction in sensation in the feet due to nerve damage. Additional conditions such as Charcot Foot, and foot ulcers can develop due to this fact. Since individuals can’t feel pain in the feet, the two possibilities for trauma in the feet include joint degradation internally, and externally  the development of ulcers.  It is highly recommended that you consult with your orthopaedic surgeon for testing for neuropathy. It will save you from future potential ulcers.

Ulcers are detected by inspection of the feet. Initially, there will be a swelling of the area, and there will ultimately be a puss build up in the area, which eventually drains. Your orthopaedic surgeon will take measures to minimize the infection, facilitate healing and ensure that healing is accelerated.

How are Ulcers Treated?

As with all conditions, prevention is better than cure. In the instance that the ulcer does develop there are series of steps that are taken to ensure that appropriate healing is facilitated. The processes are as follows:

Off-loading: This process is the simple process of ensuring that weight is removed from the foot with the ulcer. Since the individual does not have the ability to feel, weight will aggravate the ulcer. Rest, will facilitate healing and improve circulation.

Debridement: This process involves the removal of the dead tissue that is surrounding the ulcer. Leaving the live skin around the area will ensure that healing is facilitated.

Medical Treatment: With the wound exposed, the appropriate medical treatment will then be accounted for. This will facilitate healing in a sanitary environment.

Internal Health Management: The state of the internal health is reflective of the exterior health of an individual. Managing critical body parameters such as pH, glucose levels will ensure appropriate healing.

Your orthopaedic surgeon will determine the best course of action for your treatment. Consult with them for minimally invasive treatments if necessary.

Reference Article: https://www.apma.org/Patients/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=981