Early Warning Signs of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

The Importance of Caring for Your Feet

Your feet work hard for you, so it’s important to take the very best care of them that you possibly can. For people with diabetes, this is especially important. About one in four people with diabetes develop diabetic foot ulcers, a very serious complication of the disease. A diabetic foot ulcer can range in appearance froma round, red hole in the foot to an area of thick, callused skin that has dried blood underneath. In some cases, severe ulcers expose tendons and bones. Even more horrifying are the results of diabetic foot ulcers, which can include infections so serious they lead to amputation. Obviously, you will want to catch this condition before it progresses to that severe  degree, so it’s important to know the foot ulcer symptoms that serve as early warning signs.

What is a Diabetic Foot Ulcer?

Diabetic foot ulcers are open sores or wounds that appear on the feet of people with diabetes. These ulcers can occur on the feet of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and usually form on  the bottom of the foot. They can sometimes go unnoticed, because about 60 percent of people with diabetes suffer from a degree of neuropathy, damage to the nerves that leads to a decrease in sensitivity in the foot. A person who has diabetic neuropathy may not notice a foot wound until that wound becomes infected, and this infection can lead to hospitalization. In fact, diabetic foot ulcers are the most common reason for people with diabetes to wind up in the hospital.

What Causes Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

The underlying cause of diabetic foot ulcers is elevated blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels remain high consistently, the arteries and nerves can become damaged, leading to foot ulcers. Poor circulation is a major factor, because when blood can’t reach injured tissue on the foot, the wound is unlikely to receive the oxygen and nutrients necessary for healing. Trauma and injury can cause wounds that develop into ulcers, as can wearing tight shoes or inadequately caring for your feet. If you have neuropathy, you are in particular danger of ulcers, as even a tiny cut, blister, or callous can develop into an infected wound. While infected feet can be treated with antibiotics, the foot may have to be amputated if too much bone has been damaged by the ulcer.

How to Prevent Diabetic Foot Ulcers

To prevent diabetic foot ulcers, first control your blood sugar. Then, take good care of your feet. Keep them clean and dry. Inspect your feet daily, looking for cuts, sores, redness, and swelling, and being careful to look at every part of the feet, even between the toes. Wear shoes that fit well and don’t go barefoot or wear tight shoes and socks. Maintain good circulation by  staying active, doing gentle activities like walking or swimming.

Early Warning Signs of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Catching diabetic foot ulcers in the early stages is the best way to keep them from progressing to an unmanageable condition. To do this, examine your feet every day, paying special attention to anything unusual, and seeking medical attention if you notice something strange. Look for signs and symptoms that include:

  • Redness and swelling: If you have a wound with redness and swelling around it, or skin that feels warm to the touch, you could be developing an ulcer.
  • Drainage: If you notice fluid or pus on your foot, sock, or shoe, seek medical attention.
  • Changes to the skin or toenails: look for cuts, blisters, callouses, and sores, because these can develop into ulcers.
  • Pain: Pain that occurs when you’re walking or when you put your feet up can indicate a developing ulcer.
  • Odors: A foot infection mayhave a foul, pungent smell.
  • Discoloration: Diabetic foot ulcers may  have black or brown tissue called eschar that forms around a wound because of poor circulation.
  • Athletes foot: If you have a fungal infection that causes dry, cracked skin, it should be treated promptly to prevent foot ulcers.
  • Chills and fever: Your body may develop a fever to fight a foot infection, as it would for any other type of infection.

Diabetes-Related Foot Ulcers Treatment

Diabetic foot ulcer treatment ranges from wound cleaning to amputation, depending on the severity of the wound. Your doctor may drain fluid or pus away from the ulcer, or cut away dead or infected tissue, in a process called debridement. You may need special bandages and ointments the protect the wound and absorb extra fluid, and you may be prescribed a wheelchair or crutches, so that you can stay off the affected foot. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed, either in oral or IV form, to heal the infection. For severe cases, your doctor may recommend hospitalization or even amputation of the afflicted foot. That’s why it’s important to see a specialist as quickly as possible if you suspect you have a foot ulcer.

Treatment for Diabetic Foot Ulcers and a Host of Other Foot Issues

If you are concerned that you may be developing a diabetic foot ulcer, it is important to schedule an appointment as early as possible, so that your foot can be properly treated by an experienced medical professional. At Southern Delaware Foot and Ankle, our physicians have been trained to provide comprehensive medical and surgical treatment of the foot and ankle, and we have earned a reputation for providing expert quality care. Established in 2000, we are committed to providing the highest quality of care for conditions affecting the lower extremity, in a compassionate, professional environment with a safe and comfortable atmosphere. Schedule an appointment by calling one of our four convenient locations: Seaford Shipley Street, 302-715-4194, Seaford Riverside, 302-629-6162, Millsboro Dupont Hwy, 302-934-7100, or Millsboro John J. Williams Hwy, 302-945-1221. You can also reach out to us through our website with any questions, and let Southern Delaware Foot & Ankle help you put your best foot forward. 


Copyright © 2024 · Powered by LOCALiQ