Diabetic foot ulcers are one of the most common complications of uncontrolled diabetes. If an individual is diagnosed with diabetes, they require insulin treatment and may need to make lifestyle adjustments. Patients who don’t adhere to treatment are likely to develop foot ulcers. Diabetic foot ulcers form when a puncture in the skin tissue exposes the layers underneath. These wounds are common under your feet’ big toes and balls and can cause bone damage. Anyone with diabetes can develop foot ulcers. However, Bakersfield wound care can help treat the ulcers and prevent the need for amputation.
Identifying diabetic foot ulcers
One of the first signs of a foot ulcer is drainage from your foot that stains your socks. The fluid may be too much that it leaks out of your shoe. You may also notice abnormal irritation, redness, swelling, and odors from the affected foot. Eschar is the most visible sign of a severe foot ulcer. Black tissue forms because of inadequate blood flow to the areas around the ulcer.
Gangrene – partial or complete tissue death due to infections can occur around the foot ulcer. You may have pain, numbness, and a smelly discharge in such cases. The sign of foot ulcers are not always obvious and may not show until the ulcer becomes infected. Inform your doctor if you see any skin discoloration, darkened skin areas, or feel pain around an irritated area.
What causes diabetic foot ulcers?
Poor blood circulation can cause foot ulcers in people with diabetes. It is a form of vascular disease whereby some blood pools in your veins instead of flowing to the heart. Usually, the veins have valves that open, allowing blood to flow to the heart and close to prevent blood from flowing back. When the valves are weak or damaged, blood pressure increases in your veins, causing ulcers to form on your foot.
High blood sugar levels can also cause poor wound healing. Over time, high blood sugar levels damage your blood vessels, meaning an infected foot ulcer may not receive enough oxygen and nutrients needed for its recovery. For this reason, it is crucial for people with diabetes to manage their glucose or sugar levels.
Nerve damage is a long-term diabetes complication that reduces or loses sensation in your feet. As a result, you don’t feel pain when you hit your feet on an object. Because of the reduced pain sensitivity, it is easier to develop wounds that can cause ulcers.
Risk factors for diabetic foot ulcers
Any person with diabetes is at risk of developing foot ulcers for various reasons. However, some factors increase your risk of foot ulcers; they include:
- Poor hygiene; includes not washing your feet thoroughly and regularly and not drying your feet well after washing.
- Poor quality or poorly fitted shoes
- Eye disease due to diabetes
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Improper trimming of toenails
- Smoking. Tobacco use narrows blood vessels, inhibiting blood circulation
- Alcohol consumption
Healthcare providers recommend offloading to prevent the pain from ulcers. It involves staying off your feet; pressure from walking can expand an ulcer.
If you have a foot ulcer, book a session with your health provider at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center for treatment.