Important Information on Diabetic Foot Ulcers and Other Health Issues
Why is diabetic foot care Necessary?
Over 25 million children and adults within the United States have diabetes, with another 79 million in the stages of pre-diabetes. Over time, diabetes can cause nerve damage, resulting in a lack of feeling or sensitivity in the feet. There is also an increased risk of a build up of fatty deposits on the inside lining of the arteries, called peripheral vascular disease. This results in the narrowing of the arteries, reducing blood flow, causing poor blood circulation, most commonly in the feet.
The risk of this occurring increases with both your age and the length of time you’ve had diabetes. Nerve damage, or neuropathy, is not always noticeable, as it often does not cause pain or discomfort. However, the reduced sensitivity or complete lack of feelings, can cause your body to fail to alert you if you develop a diabetic foot ulcer?
What Causes a Diabetic Foot Ulcer?
Any type of foot injury can cause a foot ulcer, as well as foot deformities or trauma. Diabetic foot ulcers may occur from friction, blisters or minor cuts and bruises. The skin layers, which normally heal quickly from small surface injuries, may not delay in healing if you are a diabetic. If you cannot feel the pain, you may not even know it’s there, thus aggravating the injury by continuing to walk on it. As the friction continues, the skin peels back, exposing the underlying tissue and forming an ulcer.
Is it Possible to Prevent Diabetic Foot Ulcers?
Diabetics should make routine visits to their medical doctor or other health care specialist. Their professional care giver will examine the feet is part of the routine visit. If you have lost all or part of the sensation in your feet, but are able to examine your feet yourself, you should do this on a frequent basis. Check for blisters, scrapes, corns, callouses or other foot problems, including athlete’s foot. Fungal infections can cause cracks between the toes, increasing the dangers of a foot ulcer. Use moisturizing creams or oils on dry skin to prevent cracking, and an anti-fungal cream for athlete’s foot.
Are Diabetic Foot Ulcers Dangerous?
Diabetic foot ulcers can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. Foot ulcers can become infected, making the healing process very difficult. You should visit your doctor immediately if you develop a diabetic foot ulcer. As part of your diabetic foot care, treatment may include the removal of any hard skin that is preventing the ulcer from healing, and dressing the distressed area with padding. Infections may be treated with antibiotics, or sometimes cut and drained.
Untreated infections can spread, endangering your health and creating the risk of gangrene. If treatment is delayed or an infection ignored, amputation could become necessary.
Proper footwear can help in the prevention of diabetic foot ulcers. Wear shoes that do not rub against the ankle or pinch around the toes. Break in new shoes slowly, allowing the material to soften before wearing the shoes for extended periods of time. Wear soft, over the ankle socks with your shoes. By protecting your feet at all times, and through diabetic foot care, you could prevent the formation and spread of diabetic foot ulcers.