Diabetic wound care is not just about making sure a cut, sore, or other injuries on your foot stays clean until it heals. There is much more to consider than that.
First, there is the matter of just how quickly a wound will heal. Diabetes and its effects on circulation can greatly diminish the body’s ability to provide cells with the growth factors and other elements in our blood they need to conduct repairs. Some wounds might not even really heal at all on their own, and require special intervention to close. Then there are all the additional factors that can increase the risk of wounds developing, or existing wounds becoming worse. If these aren’t addressed properly, it’s always going to be a game of catch-up to keep diabetic feet healthy. So if you are looking for advice on how to take care of a diabetic foot wound on your own, we very much ask you to reconsider. The more time you give a wound to develop and worsen, the more opportunity there is for infections and other serious complications to devastate your foot (and overall) health.
A professional approach to diabetic wound care treatment, management, and prevention is the best way to help ensure a healthy future for your feet or the feet of a loved one. We have the tools and expertise for comprehensive care.
Whenever there is a diabetic wound in need of treatment, we will get you into our office as soon as possible. We do not delay! Now, does that mean every little nick, scratch, or mild ingrown toenail should be seen by us immediately? Depending on your situation, probably not. However, it is still important that any of our patients with diabetes tell us about any injuries or abnormalities they experience on their feet so that we can get the proper treatment.
Cleaning a diabetic wound means more than simple disinfection. In many cases, we will also need to remove dead or diseased tissue to reduce the opportunities for infection. This is medically referred to as “debriding” the wound. If we believe a wound needs professional cleaning and debridement, we will be upfront about it.
Once properly cleaned, attention turns toward keeping infection risks as low as possible. We may prescribe medication in order to help prevent infection or to fight any infection that might already be present. Depending on your medical history and needs at the time, medication might take the form of either topical ointments or oral medications.
For patients whose immune systems may be weakened by poor circulation and other factors, we may recommend additional measures that may accelerate healing and recovery, closing a wound faster and lessening potential exposure time to sources of infection. One potential route is laser therapy.
Administered over several sessions, laser therapy can stimulate cellular repair processes and increase blood flow to the area of an injury. It can be especially effective on soft tissue injuries both external and internal. More advanced ulcers/wounds may require hyperbaric oxygen treatments and surgery.
A wound can be properly cleaned and treated, but to fully address the situation, we must also address the factors that may have led to the problem in the first place.
A sudden, unavoidable accident is one thing, but many injuries and sores are preventable. Perhaps your footwear is constantly rubbing up against a part of your foot, or there is an imbalance in your foot structure that is causing more weight and force to center over a specific area. Identifying and addressing any problem areas – even before they ever cause any significant trouble – is crucial to ensure that diabetic feet are prepared for as healthy a future as possible.
In the short term, during recovery, we might use a brace or boot to temporarily protect the foot. But depending on what we find when we examine you, we may recommend a long-term preventative plan that could include:
If you live with diabetes, there is no better time to start a diabetic care plan than right now. Even if you don’t yet feel like you’re at high risk of complications from wounds and ulcers, you should still fight against a slow current of complications that can make problems and recovery more difficult in the future. The better you prevent and treat problems in the present, the better prepared your feet will be later on.
Whether you have a current wound or condition in need of treatment or want to discuss preventative measures, we would love to see you. Call our Enid office to schedule an appointment with us at (580) 237-3338.