Chicago (773) 477-3668
Highland Park (773) 477-3668
Uptown (773) 477-3668

Diabetic Wound and Ulcer Care

diabetic wound and ulcer careDiabetics must be wary of all wounds and ulcers, regardless of depth or size. Ulcers are open sores or wounds that develop from tissue loss on the skin. Typically these sores can become very painful. Diabetes, a chronic disease in which the body cannot properly use glucose the way it normally would, causes various complications that make wounds difficult to heal. Nerve damage or neuropathy can cause diabetics to have trouble feeling the pain of a blister or cut until the condition has significantly worsened or become infected. A diabetic’s weakened immune system can make even the most minor of wounds easily susceptible to infection. Diabetics are also more prone to developing narrow, clogged arteries, and are therefore more likely to develop wounds.

Wounds should be taken care of immediately after discovery, as even the smallest of wounds can become infected if enough bacteria build up within the wound. To remove dirt, wounds should first be rinsed under running water only. Soap, hydrogen peroxide, or iodine can irritate the injury and should be avoided. To prevent infection, apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover it with a bandage. The bandage should be changed daily. The skin around the wound may be cleaned with soap. As the wound heals, make sure to avoid applying pressure to the affected area.

Daily inspection of the feet is key in preventing the formation of wounds and ulcers, and at first sign of development, one should immediately contact his or her podiatrist. Ulcers are commonly found on the bottom of the feet. Depending on the severity of the ulcer, it may take weeks to months for foot ulcers to properly heal.

Diabetic Limb Salvage

Limb salvage is a procedure that involves saving a lower extremity from amputation. In podiatry, limb amputation often occurs as a result of diabetes. The fundamental goal of limb salvage is to restore and maintain stability and movement of the affected lower extremity.

The procedure typically involves removing the diseased tissue and a small portion of the surrounding healthy tissue, as well as the removal of any affected bone if necessary. If bone is removed it is then replaced with prostheses, or synthetic metal rods or plates, or grafts from either the patient’s body or a donor. Limb salvage is typically the preferred choice of procedure over amputation, as the procedure preserves both the patient’s appearance and allows for the greatest possible degree of function in the affected limb.

Upon diagnosis and determining that limb salvage is the appropriate treatment, the podiatrist may enlist the help of a physical and/or occupational therapist to prepare the patient for surgery by introducing various muscle-strengthening, walking, and range of motion exercises. Such exercises may be continued as rehabilitation post-procedure.

Connect with us