Diabetic foot wounds have a reputation for persistence. Since sensory nerves often suffer from exposure to high blood sugar levels, you may injure your feet without being aware. Compromised blood supply then slows healing until you have a complex, non-healing wound. Taken to extremes, these can lead to gangrene and amputation.
Getting diabetes under control can minimize the danger to your feet. Having foot care specialists like Hudson Valley Foot Associates on your diabetes management team assures you get the care your feet need, when they need it. When you develop diabetic foot wounds, we’re here to help. Today, we’ll look at five ways that these wounds can be treated.
The high blood sugar levels present in your body when you have diabetes have a negative effect on nearly every system in your body. Your feet and lower legs suffer disproportionately: Not only are they furthest from the heart, but their blood supply must work against gravity to return to the heart and lungs for replenishment.
Both blood vessels and nerves suffer from constant exposure to high glucose levels. Damage to arteries and veins results in less efficient movement of blood, while nerves begin to fail, reporting pain that isn’t there, or sending no signals when you have an active wound. That’s why you can develop foot wounds that resist healing.
About 15% of people with diabetes will develop foot ulcers. Of that subgroup, 6% require hospitalization for complications of the wound. Treating diabetic foot wounds reduces the risk of amputation, infection, and other complications. We typically use five primary treatments to prevent foot wounds from getting worse.
When infection is present, a course of antibiotics may be the place to start. Oral antibiotics can handle mild infections, while moderate to severe cases could require parenteral medications — those that are delivered without passing through the digestive system.
With a prescription for antibiotics in hand, dressing the wound comes next for mild and moderate ulcers. This starts with a thorough cleaning of the wound and may include debridement if there is infected, damaged, or dead tissue present.
Foot ulcers that resist healing may be augmented with skin grafts to help close the wound to aid healing. Skin grafts tend to be used for larger foot wounds and those that heal slowly because of the demands of weight bearing.
Placing the foot ulcer under a controlled vacuum pressure system aids healing. Some patients find an accelerated rate for wound healing through negative pressure treatments.
In particular, growth factor therapy helps to speed your recovery from a diabetic foot wound. This technique boosts the level of natural growth factor hormones, typically in an injection, to provide more healing resources.
The best solution for you depends on your foot wound, overall health, and blood sugar control level. Contact Hudson Valley Foot Associates at the nearest of our five locations, by phone or online. We’ll assess your condition and recommend the best course of action to keep you on your feet. Plan your visit today.