If you have a chronic illness that causes wounds on your legs, ankles, and feet, such as Diabetes or Neuropathy, Tampa Bay Foot and Ankle can help. Our dedicated Podiatrist, Eric Roberts, DPM, FACFAS, AACFAOM uses highly advanced technologies, products, and skin substitutes to treat and restore your health. Call the St. Petersburg, Florida office or schedule an appointment online today.
A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that occurs in approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes and is commonly located on the bottom of the foot. Of those who develop a foot ulcer, 6 percent will be hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complication.
Diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the United States, and approximately 14-24 percent of patients with diabetes who develop a foot ulcer will require an amputation. Foot ulceration precedes 85 percent of diabetes-related amputations. Research has shown, however, that development of a foot ulcer is preventable.
Anyone who has diabetes can develop a foot ulcer. Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, and older men are more likely to develop ulcers. People who use insulin are at higher risk of developing a foot ulcer, as are patients with diabetes-related kidney, eye, and heart disease. Being overweight and using alcohol and tobacco also play a role in the development of foot ulcers.
Ulcers form due to a combination of factors, such as lack of feeling in the foot, poor circulation, foot deformities, irritation (such as friction or pressure), and trauma, as well as duration of diabetes. Patients who have diabetes for many years can develop neuropathy, a reduced or complete lack of ability to feel pain in the feet due to nerve damage caused by elevated blood glucose levels over time. The nerve damage often can occur without pain, and one may not even be aware of the problem. Your podiatrist can test feet for neuropathy with a simple, painless tool called a monofilament.
The primary goal in the treatment of foot ulcers is to obtain healing as soon as possible. The faster the healing, the less chance for an infection.
There are several key factors in the appropriate treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer:
Prevention of infection
Taking the pressure off the area, called “off-loading”
Removing dead skin and tissue, called “debridement”
Applying medication or dressings to the ulcer
Managing blood glucose and other health problems
Not all ulcers are infected; however, if your podiatrist diagnoses an infection, a treatment program of antibiotics, wound care, and possibly hospitalization will be necessary.
To keep an ulcer from becoming infected, it is important to:
keep blood glucose levels under tight control
keep the ulcer clean and bandaged
cleanse the wound daily, using a wound dressing or bandage and
avoid walking barefoot.
If you have a chronic illness that causes wounds on your legs, ankles and feet, such as Diabetes or Neuropathy, Tampa Bay Foot and Ankle dedicated podiatrist Eric Roberts, DPM, FACFAS, AACFAOM, uses highly advanced technologies, products, and skin substitutes to treat and restore your health. Call the St. Petersburg, Florida, office or schedule an appointment online today.