Taking care of your feet when you have diabetes is a lot like taking care of an airplane.
Bet you didn’t see that one coming, but it’s true!
An airplane, just like diabetic feet, should go through frequent inspections and checks to ensure everything is working properly and not damaged. It’s all part of a safe and proactive protocol.
And when a safety inspection finds a problem with a plane, you better believe no one is going to be flying until the problem is fixed! It should be the same with your feet, as well.
Diabetic foot care is all about preventing wounds from happening, but sometimes damage can be inevitable, or simply slip under the radar. The longer a wound exists on your foot, however, the greater the danger it is to your personal well-being.
Why Are Diabetic Foot Wounds So Dangerous?
When an injury happens to your foot—anything from a small cut to a burn—think of it like damage to your house.
When a house gets damaged, it’s time to repair it if you don’t want the elements to damage things further. That means getting the supplies you need to do the job.
Our body operates in a similar manner. Our cells conduct repairs to heal our skin and other damaged areas. But to do this, they need elements that are carried to them by our blood.
Even without diabetes, blood flow is not as powerful to our feet as it is to most of the rest of the body. You can chalk that up to the pure distance blood must travel from our heart to the feet (and then a battle against gravity to get back to the heart!).
When diabetes is in the picture, circulation can be negatively affected, even further. It can reach the point where healing in the feet is dramatically slowed or doesn’t even occur unless some medical intervention is provided.
If proper care isn’t given to an injury on the feet—even a small one—it can be like leaving a hole in your roof open to the wind and rain. The force exerted on our feet from just standing and walking can make that injury grow much worse. Eventually, it can lead to a deep ulcer with a very high risk of infection.
The worst part is that, in some cases, nerve damage from diabetes is so severe that you might not even feel any of this happening—so you’re far less likely to notice it right away.
Treating Diabetic Foot Wounds
The first part of treatment is identifying when there’s a problem. The best weapon you have for that is… you!
Check your feet every day for signs of trouble, without fail. Making this a habit is perhaps the best thing you can do to help yourself prevent disastrous situations.
It doesn’t matter if your feet feel fine or have looked fine every day you’ve checked. Diabetes has a way of making things progressively worse over time. If and when something bad does happen, you will be more than prepared to notice it.
When you see something that shouldn’t be there, it’s time to give us a call. This can include:
- Ingrown toenails
- Warts or other lesions on the skin
It doesn’t matter how small or initially harmless it looks; we want to know! We will likely not ask you to come in for every little thing that is reported, but we can keep a record of what is happening to your feet.
If there is a wound in need of treatment, we will get you into our office as soon as possible. We do not procrastinate on matters such as this!
Our approach to the wound will depend on multiple factors, including the size and location of the injury, your history with diabetes, your circulatory health, and any other conditions that may have an influence.
In a high number of cases, the wound will need to be cleaned of debris, dead tissue, and other foreign matter. You may hear this referred to as “debridement.”
We may dress the wound with antibiotic ointments and/or prescribe oral medications to help reduce the risk of infection. As poor circulation inhibits healing, so too does it decrease the capabilities of your immune system to fight off infection.
Once the initial needs are met, we must then consider removing all obstacles to healing.
Taking weight off the affected area will likely be essential. This might include a period of rest without weight-bearing activities on the foot. We might also consider the use of a brace, crutches, or custom orthotics to further offload pressure against the ulcer.
Taking care of the wound and giving it every opportunity to heal will be high priorities. Any sort of change in the condition of the wound should be reported as soon as possible, and more advanced treatments may be necessary if improvement is not seen.
Your Diabetic Wound Care Experts
We never want any of our patients to have to go through the complications of diabetic wounds if they never have to. That’s why we champion preventative diabetic foot care and daily inspections!
But if a wound ever needs prompt and thorough treatment, we don’t want you to wonder who to go to for it, either.
We are here for all of your diabetic foot care needs, so never hesitate to give us a call for any concerns you may have. Remember our number for the office closest to you:
Enid: (680) 237-3338
Oklahoma City: (405) 947-8041