Diabetic Wound Care
What Makes Diabetic Wounds So Problematic?
Diabetic wounds often develop due to factors that affect the body’s abilities to detect and properly heal from injury.
The effects of diabetes and reduced circulation can result in damage to the nerves of the foot, also known as peripheral neuropathy. Over time, the ability to feel pain and other sensations in this area can be reduced or eliminated. These changes can take place so gradually that you may not even know they have happened.
Just as poor circulation can cause the nerves of the foot to lose function, it can also weaken the body’s ability to heal. Your blood supplies the much needed nourishment and repair elements to injured areas, and any reduction in blood flow can greatly increase healing time and reduce the ability to fight infection.
Neuropathy and decreased blood flow create a potentially dangerous combination. Any injury, such as irritation from an improperly fitting sock or shoe, might go unnoticed for some time. Continued pressure from walking on the injured foot can cause further damage. The larger and deeper a wound becomes, the more likely it will become infected. In severe cases, an infection could lead to amputation.
How do I Detect Diabetic Wounds?
Since pain itself is not a reliable indicator of a wound in a person with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, it is very important to seek other signs. Ideally, the feet should be inspected by sight and touch every day for any sign of a problem. These signs may include swelling, redness, hotness to touch, drainage, discoloration, and foul odor. The bottoms of the feet are the most likely location for a wound, but be sure to check the top and sides of each foot as well as between the toes.
Even if you find what seems to be a small injury, such as a scrape or an ingrown toenail, you should seek treatment. If you do find anything that concerns you, contact us at Far West Podiatric Medical Group.
How are Diabetic Wounds Treated?
The highest priorities in treating a wound are preventing infection and accelerating healing. The wound is cleansed and any dead tissue surrounding it is removed. Specialized medications and coverings may also be applied, with dressings changed daily.
Keeping weight and irritation off the wound will also be a crucial element to healing. This off-loading of force might come in the form of a brace, crutches, or special shoe or cast. In some cases, custom orthotics may be prescribed to direct force away from the area during the course of healing and even beyond, as a preventative measure.
If an infection is present, antibiotics and a more intensive treatment plan may be needed. This might include hospitalization or surgery, depending on the severity of the infection.
The Best in Wound Treatment and Prevention
The doctors at Far West Podiatric Medical Group are experts in diabetic wound care who know the best treatment is always prevention. Our practice can not only treat wounds as they arise, but also provide regular examinations and preventative care. Contact our office in Hawthorne, CA, at (310) 675-0900 for more information. No concern is too small.