Diabetic Wound Care
Diabetes affects the whole body in a variety of ways, and it can cause some serious complications for your feet. One of the most common complications is a diabetic wound, or a skin ulcer.
These open wounds have a high risk for serious infections and don’t heal on their own. You need immediate and invested diabetic wound care to treat the problem. Without it, you risk complications that could cost you your foot altogether.
Unfortunately, we see far too many cases of toes and feet that need to be amputated due to a severe infection—and almost all of them could have been prevented if care had been sought earlier.
If you notice any suspicious or concerning lesions on your feet or legs, don’t wait to call us. The Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma has a strong reputation as a wound care and limb preservation center of excellence. We’ll do everything in our power to care for your feet, heal your wounds, and prevent or eliminate infection so you can get back to your lifestyle—and keep your feet.
How Wounds Form
Wounds develop when your skin breaks down under pressure.
They usually start as a small blister, crack, or split in your skin. Usually you don’t feel or notice the tiny damage because diabetes impairs your nerves. As a result, you continue walking on that little sore—and the pressure breaks it down. Your weakened circulation and compromised immune system aren’t able to heal the damage, allowing a small sore to deteriorate into a serious ulcer.
Wounds can occur in other ways, too. People with diabetes and/or circulatory problems often deal with swollen legs and skin that’s more prone to breaking down. Damaged valves inside the veins of the leg can cause pressure to build to the point where an ulcer forms on the skin. These are called venous ulcers.
Why Wounds Are So Dangerous
Foot and leg wounds have a high risk of infection, especially when diabetes is in the picture. And because your immune system can’t fight back effectively, even a minor infection could potentially turn deadly. The damage can kill the tissues around the wound as well, leading to gangrene.
Without emergency wound care, the problem will only get worse and even threaten your life—which could lead to dramatic emergency treatments like toe or foot amputation.
People with a history of foot or leg wounds are often prone to getting them again and again, especially if steps aren’t taken to correct the issues that are causing them. And if a wound does lead to amputation, this has an obvious, significant, and permanent effect on not just quality of life, but also your life expectancy.
Treating a Foot Ulcer Effectively
With such high stakes, it’s incredibly important to get high-quality diabetic wound care treatment as soon as you notice the sore.
Our specialists at Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma work hard to ensure you get the care you need quickly, conveniently, and affordably. We’ll not only provide the necessary emergency care (either in our office or at a local wound care center we’ve been partnered with for more than 10 years), but help you fully utilize your insurance benefits to save you money and help you get the preventative tools (such as diabetic shoes) that you’ll need to prevent wounds in the future.
We will carefully examine your lower limbs. This allows our team to determine how serious the ulcer already is, and whether it’s infected. From there we can determine your best course of treatment.
First, of course, the wound will have to be cleaned. Any dead tissue around the sore will need to be carefully removed (debrided) so the healthy areas stay intact and have a chance to heal. Your foot will receive medication for infections as well. If necessary, we’ll perform a skin graft or transplant, which not only helps protect and cover the wound, but facilitates faster repair and revascularization.
The sore will then be carefully bandaged to keep it covered.
Caring for Your Ulcer Continues at Home
Professional wound care is only the first critical step toward healing. The way that you care for your ulcer—and yourself—in the following days and weeks has a significant influence on how quickly and successfully your wound heals.
- You’ll need to wear a boot or cast and avoid walking while you heal. This will protect your foot from pressure that could prevent the ulcer from recovering.
- Keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels and keep them in a healthy range. Uncontrolled blood sugar will delay the healing process.
- We’ll give you detailed instructions about when you need to clean the wound or change your bandages, and also set follow-up appointments for us to check in regularly and evaluate the healing process, including making sure any grafts are adhering and being accepted.
We will walk with you every step of the way through this process. Take as much time as you need to ask us any questions, and do not hesitate to call our office at any point if you have questions or concerns. Better safe than sorry. We want to give you every possible tool and advantage to heal your wound and prevent the loss of your limb.
Preventing Diabetic Wounds (and Amputations) in the Future
Once a diabetic wound has fully healed, you’ll continue to care for it by working to prevent one from recurring in the future.
Wearing protective, supportive footwear will be the biggest part of this. You’ll need to stick to shoes that help stabilize your lower limbs and protect them from pressure.
You might need prescription orthotics and diabetic shoes to help with this so you can better absorb shock. Almost all insurances (including Medicare) will cover most or all of the cost of diabetic shoes and custom orthotics, and they can significantly reduce your risk of further problems. Quite simply there’s no reason not to do this, and we are very confident we can get you in a pair of each that will be comfortable, stylish, and effective.
Daily foot inspections will be key to watch out for any changes that could deteriorate into an ulcer. You may need to make other changes in your life to better control high or fluctuating blood sugar levels as well.
A Wound Care and Limb Preservation Center of Excellence
Diabetic foot wounds are serious injuries that could have life- or limb-threatening consequences. However, with active foot care, you can eliminate the injury and even work to prevent the problem from recurring.
Let our specialists at Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma help you live a full, healthy life with diabetes by giving your feet the care they need. You can reach our office in Oklahoma City for more information or a consultation today by calling (405) 418-2676 or by using our online request forms.
Request an Appointment
Access your needed information from anywhere, at any time!