When you have diabetes, it’s vital to treat foot injuries right away. Even small injuries can turn into major foot ulcers, which can cost you a foot — or a whole leg — if you do not care for them rapidly and thoroughly. These simple steps can prevent issues down the roadway.
Diabetic Foot Sores and Skin Sores
What you put on your feet matters. “You can get a foot ulcer from something as simple as walking in new or tight-fitting shoes or getting a little pebble stuck in the shoe,” says Raul Guzman, MD, a vascular surgeon at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
If you have diabetes, you might get a sort of nerve damage that stops the feeling in your feet. Doctors call this neuropathy. If you cannot feel your feet, you might not know you’re hurt, and a little cut or sore can turn into something bigger.
Or you may have bad blood circulation to your feet, that makes it tough for even minor cuts to heal.
Your doctor can inform you whether you have nerve damage or blood-flow problems. Guzman says he can do a test that shows how blood moves through your body. If the results are normal, you can have standard wound-care treatments. “If the results of this blood-flow test are unusual, that implies you have bad circulation that has to be repaired,” he states.
Surgery can help. “We can use a balloon and stent,” Guzman says, “or we can do a bypass procedure, where we link the artery above the blockage to one of the arteries in the calf or foot.”
Wound Treatment Options
If you do injure your foot, don’t try to look after it at home. Go to a wound-care center or your doctor, even for blisters, calluses, and scratches.
“Put on some antibiotic lotion and see a wound center or your doctor, at the most recent, the next day,” says Harold Brem, MD, chief of the injury recovery and regenerative medicine department at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY. “These are limb- and life-threatening issues, so do not take opportunities.”
Your doctor will know the correct way to tidy and treat the wound. He might recommend a cream to use at home.
If you establish a foot ulcer, the doctor will most likely need to clean it out. He may call this process debridement. Then he’ll bandage it if it requires it, Guzman says.
Recently, advanced treatments like stem cells and growth elements have actually been used to treat foot ulcers. “These are no longer extreme procedures,” Brem says.
You must also keep weight off of your foot as you heal. There are various types of casts or boots the doctor can give you to assist.
Your best choice to prevent sores is to keep your feet healthy. Here’s how:
- Check your feet daily. If you’ve lost feeling in your feet, aim to see if something is incorrect. It’s hard for lots of people to check the bottoms of their feet even if they use a mirror, Guzman states. Ask a spouse or friend to help you.
- Wash them well. When you shower, soap your feet with warm water and completely dry them, even between the toes. Wetness that gets caught there can be damaging. Use lotion or cream to keep skin from drying or cracking, which can cause sores. “Treat your skin as the most crucial organ in the body,” Brem says.
- Dress for comfort. Keep your feet cushioned with soft socks and comfortable shoes. Prevent high heels and pointy, narrow designs, which can hurt your feet. Your doctor may prescribe unique shoes if you require them. “Shoes are exceptionally essential,” Brem says. “Something like [tennis shoes] can be the distinction between a substantial ulcer and not. You require correct padding.”
- Cut your toenails. Individuals with diabetes need to see a podiatric doctor, a doctor who concentrates on foot care. Ask him if he need to cut your toenails to avoid injury. This prevails for people who have neuropathy or who’ve had foot ulcers prior to. “Only have a professional clip your nails if you have diabetes,” Brem states. “Never go to a hair salon.”