Given the important relationship existing between diabetes and foot disorders, there are many aspects of complete diabetic foot care that those with diabetes need to understand. Perhaps the most important of all of them is wound care. Otherwise-healthy individuals do not usually need to give much thought to minor injuries, but even a small cut or tiny scrape can potentially become a serious medical complication for an individual who has diabetes.
At Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida, we want all of our patients to be safe and healthy. Therefore routine foot care is especially important for the patient with diabetes. This prevention begins with you being able to recognize diabetic wounds and know when to come in for the treatment you need.
Recognizing Signs of Diabetic Wounds
As we look at the symptoms of diabetic wounds, it is important to start with the fact that diabetes is often accompanied by an ancillary condition known as neuropathy. This type of nerve damage can affect the body in a variety of ways, including impairing its ability to feel physical sensations. With diabetic neuropathy, an affected individual cannot rely exclusively on pain as the main warning sign of an existing issue.
The impaired ability to experience pain underscores the importance of carefully inspecting the feet every day. This daily inspection is best performed at the same time every day (so it becomes a habit), with “before bed” being an excellent choice. When inspecting your feet, make sure you look at each foot carefully, including the areas between the toes. If you have difficulty seeing the bottom of your feet without assistance, either enlist the help of a loved one or use a mirror.
While inspecting your lower limbs, stay alert for swelling and redness (signs of inflammation) and discharge, drainage, and foul odor (any of which might indicate an infection). Additionally, any color, texture, or temperature change, or abnormal growth, constitutes a warning flag and you should request the earliest possible appointment with our office.
Always pay attention for these signs when taking off your socks. A common indication of a wound is drainage on a sock.
Wound Care Treatment
As soon as you sustain a wound, take immediate action. This begins with removing any dirt particles by rinsing the affected area under warm running water. Do not use hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or soap, since they can cause irritation. Instead, finish rinsing with clean water and then apply an antibiotic ointment and a sterile bandage to cover the wound. Replace the bandage daily with a fresh one. It is important to keep the area around the wound clean (to reduce the infection risk) by using mild soap and warm water on the unaffected skin. When changing the dressing on the wound, check for any signs of infection.
Even though it may appear to simply be a minor cut or scrape, you should contact us for an appointment and come it to see us as soon as possible. Treating a minor issue is considerably easier than dealing with the consequences after the problem has developed into a serious medical emergency.
Diabetic Ulcer Prevention
The best diabetic ulcer treatment is to reduce your risk of developing an ulcer in the first place. Your foot ulcer prevention plan should begin with one of our staff podiatrists. We will assess your current condition to determine if there are any existing issues and then create a plan to address them. We can also schedule regular appointments for you as a proactive defense against major problems.
Eliminating or decreasing risk factors (like drinking alcohol, smoking, elevated glucose levels, and high cholesterol) is important for preventing wounds and foot ulcers. Similarly important is always protecting your feet by wearing the right socks and shoes. If you do not know which ones are best for you, our office will be glad to provide recommendations.
Also, before putting on footwear, always take a little time to inspect the insides of your shoes. This can enable you to find and remove any small objects that would otherwise potentially cause damage.
Professional Wound Care Services in Orlando, FL
For additional information about diabetic wounds or medical care for any diabetic foot care issue (even those that seem minor at the time), do not hesitate to contact Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida. We are committed to your health and wellness, so request an appointment with any of our five offices (Orlando, Lake Mary, Kissimmee, Altamonte Springs, and Tavares, FL) online or by calling 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (if calling from Lake County).