Foot ulcers can occur in people who have long-standing diabetes or in people whose diabetes is not properly managed. In addition to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and kidney problems, diabetics may be at risk for developing foot ulcers. If proper diabetic foot care is not implemented, complications such as infection, pain, and muscle and bone damage can occur. Here are some diabetic foot care interventions your podiatrist may recommend to help heal the wounds on your feet.
Wound Care And At-Home Instructions
Your podiatrist can clean your foot ulcers, disinfect them with an antimicrobial solution, and remove necrotic tissue that surrounds your wounds. After the wounds have been cleaned, your podiatrists will apply a sterile dressing to keep the wounds clean while they heal. Your foot doctor will also teach you how to perform your own wound care at home and will ask you to call the office if you notice any signs or symptoms of infection such as increased pain, bleeding, drainage oozing from the wounds, and an unpleasant odor.
Other signs and symptoms your doctor will want you to watch for include increased redness over the affected areas, an increase in temperature on the skin near your wounds, and increased inflammation on the skin surrounding your foot ulcers.
Cultures And Antibiotics
Other diabetic foot care interventions include taking cultures of your diabetic foot ulcers if they are infected and sending them to a microbiology laboratory. The wound cultures will help your doctor determine which organism is responsible for your infection. Certain antibiotics are more sensitive to certain strains of bacteria, and because of this, it is important to take an antibiotic that is sensitive, rather than resistant, to the type of bacteria that is responsible for your diabetic wounds.
In addition to oral antibiotics, your podiatrist may also prescribe a topical antibiotic ointment or gel. If you experience side effects from your antibiotics such as abdominal cramps or nausea, let your doctor know so that they can discontinue the offending antibiotic and prescribe a different one that may be less likely to cause adverse reactions.
If you have diabetes and develop ulcers on your feet, make an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as possible. When you seek proper diabetic foot care and medical management of your blood glucose levels, your wounds may be more likely to heal faster and the risk for infection and permanent tissue damage may decrease.