Advanced Diabetic Wound Care
If you have diabetes and discover an open sore or wound on your foot—also known as a diabetic ulcer—the decisions that you make within the next few days could determine whether you’ll be able to keep your foot.
We’re not exaggerating. Every year in the United States, nearly 100,000 people with diabetes end up requiring a lower extremity amputation in order to stop a severe infection that began with a simple foot sore.
We say this not to frighten you, but to urge you to take action! Nearly all of these amputations were preventable. Seeking immediate medical attention from a wound care specialist like Dr. L. David Richer and following your aftercare instructions carefully can help you avoid amputation and preserve your health, mobility, and independence as long as possible.
Dr. Richer is one of the Valley’s leading wound care specialists, and our office is equipped with many advanced therapies and procedures to help you recover quickly and successfully.
Why Are Foot Ulcers So Dangerous for People with Diabetes?
People with diabetes are especially prone to developing ulcers for a variety of reasons, but the two biggest ones are:
- Poor nerve function. Diabetes can damage nerves in the feet and ankles, which may prevent you from noticing a cut, burst blister, or other wound or injury to your feet.
- Poor circulation. Weak circulation in the feet prevents the body from healing a wound quickly, and also makes it harder for the immune system to fight off infections.
These factors not only explain why wounds are so common in people with diabetes, but also why they are so dangerous. If you aren’t checking your feet at least daily and calling your doctor as soon as you notice a problem, you may not even realize you have a wound until it has become severe.
We’ll say it again: do not take chances if you have diabetes and develop a foot sore. Call our office immediately. This is not a risk worth taking
How Are Diabetic Ulcers Treated?
Our goal will be to heal wounds as quickly as possible. Quite simply, the sooner the wound heals, the lower your chances of developing an infection. It means you’ll be back on your feet sooner, too.
There are several basic steps to wound care, including:
- Preventing and/or treating any infection.
- Cleaning out the wound of any dead tissue or other debris (debridement).
- Keeping weight and pressure away from the wound (offloading). We may equip you with a walking boot, crutches, foot brace, or other tools you may need to protect the wound as it heals.
- Applying any necessary medications or dressings to the ulcer.
After your initial appointment, we will give you detailed instructions on how to care for your wound at home, including how and when to change your dressings, and what products to use. We will also schedule follow-up appointments to check on your progress.
As the wound heals, it’s extremely important that you continue to keep weight and pressure off your foot. You should also pay extra close attention to your blood glucose levels and manage them carefully, as this can have a dramatic effect on how quickly your wound heals.
Advanced Wound Care at the Foot, Ankle & Leg Center
The Foot, Ankle & Leg Center has quickly developed a reputation for excellence in diabetic ulcer treatment, with many advanced therapies you won’t find at a typical podiatric office or wound care center. They include:
- Regenerative medicine therapies, such as amniotic tissue, platelet-rich plasma, and growth factor injections. Regenerative treatments help supply the body with critical biological building blocks that accelerate the wound healing and tissue regeneration process.
- Skin grafts. We can take a small piece of skin from another part of your body and use it to make a graft for your foot ulcer.
- Dermal and epidermal skin substitutes. These are grafts made from biological material (typically ethically donated amniotic tissue) that can be used as a temporary wound covering. The skin substitute can act as a “scaffold” that allows your body to rebuild new skin faster, and can also reduce the appearance of scarring.
We do all our wound care in-office rather than at a wound care center, which saves our patients an extra trip and can mean faster and more convenient treatment. Our office is also well stocked with high quality wound care products to help aid your recovery at home.
Prevention Is the Best Treatment
Unfortunately, the statistics tell us that people who already have a history of foot ulcers are very likely to develop more in the future—and each ulcer is a new opportunity for severe infection or amputation. But ulcers are not inevitable! With proper preventative care, you can protect yourself.
- Keep your blood sugar under control.
- Work with your doctor to prevent, manage, or reverse other medical risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Avoid smoking or excessive use of alcohol.
- Always wear appropriate socks and shoes to protect your feet. We are happy to fit and prescribe diabetic shoes that are specially designed to lower your risk.
- Examine your feet carefully every day. This includes visually checking your feet for sores, swelling, and other signs of injury or infection. You should also feel your feet with your hands to check for bumps, dry skin, temperature fluctuations—really, anything unusual.
- Call us immediately if you notice a potential problem, even if it seems minor. We’re happy to advise you on the next steps you should take. Better safe than sorry.
Schedule yearly diabetic foot care checkups with Dr. Richer. Even if you don’t yet have a history of foot problems, your nerves and circulation could already be compromised without you even knowing it. We provide in-office vascular and nerve fiber density testing, so we can spot potential problems long before you can, and then help you take the appropriate steps to keep them from getting worse.
Don’t Let a Wound Go Unaddressed
Remember: nearly 100,000 Americans will require a lower limb amputation this year as a direct result of a diabetic foot ulcer. Don’t be one of them. Call us as soon as you spot a problem. We are one of the area’s premier wound care centers, and we will do everything in our power to help you heal and protect your feet.
Connect with us by using the form below, or calling (480) 629-5903.