How wound care for foot ulcer. Wounds and diabetes are incompatible enemies, especially if they occur on the feet. Having poor circulation in the legs, narrower arteries and loss of sensation due to neuropathy (problem with nerve endings), can delay healing, increase the possibility of infection and even increase the risk of losing the leg.
It is important to know how to take care of treating a wound or scratch, even if it seems harmless, to avoid possible complications such a foot ulcer.
Usually a pinch on a toe, a blister from a shoe, or a cut from shaving does not worry us much. They burn a little, they bother, but soon we do not even remember. If you have diabetes, you can’t afford that.
You should learn to treat these minor wounds so that you can avoid infection and the wound will heal as soon as possible.
Wounds can be complicated in patients with diabetes, wound care for foot ulcer
Diabetes, in addition to changing the way your body produces, controls and uses glucose, brings with it a number of other complications that can hinder and delay wound healing, even if they are minor. Among these are:
Nerve damage (neuropathy): The nerves responsible for receiving the sensations in the skin can be damaged when diabetes has not been controlled. This puts you at risk for having less sensation in your feet, and then you may not realize you have a blister, sore or wound until it gets worse or infected.
A weakened immune system due to high blood glucose (sugar) levels, which increases the chance of an injury becoming infected.
Narrower arteries, making it difficult for good circulation, which is a major factor in promoting wound healing.
Treats wounds without losing a moment, wound care for foot ulcer
It doesn’t matter if it is small, almost a scratch, if it is a wound, give it all the importance in the world. Your health is at stake. This is what you have to do:
Without wasting time, stop what you are doing and treat the wound immediately. The longer you wait, the longer it takes for bacteria to infect the wound.
Clean it well: Let water from the basin run over the wound to remove any dirt. Don’t use soap or any other product that could irritate it. Apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and cover it with a sterile gauze. Change the gauze daily. After the wound has closed, you can use soap to clean the area around it. Keep the wound covered to prevent contamination and infection and keep the affected area well moisturized.
Check the wound daily for any signs of infection (redness at the edges, swelling, pus, or pain).
If you notice any of the above symptoms, call your doctor. It is preferable that he or she determine the seriousness of the case and recommend what to do.
If the wound became infected and the doctor has given you oral (taken) or topical antibiotics, apply them or take them without fail. If the infection does not respond to treatment at home, it will need to be treated in a hospital.
If the wound is on the soles of your feet, avoid putting pressure on it. This is an area of the body where diabetics often have corns and ulcers. If you have a small ulcer or wound on the sole of your foot, elevate your leg as much as you can so that it can heal faster.
You may need to use a cane, a special boot and even a wheelchair to keep your foot off the ground.
Depending on how the wound responds and how it heals, you may need to visit your doctor regularly for surgical cleaning to remove dead skin and tissue to help it heal.
The doctor will probably send samples to the laboratory to determine which fungi or bacteria have caused the infection so that they can be better controlled.
The wounds in the feet are the most dangerous, wound care for foot ulcer
The feet and ankles are very vulnerable areas in patients with diabetes because they have a tendency to become inflamed which delays wound healing. If the wound is on an arm, for example, it can be immobilized even though the person can still move from place to place. However, it is much more difficult to achieve complete immobilization of the foot or leg while the wound is healing.
Diabetics also find it difficult to avoid foot injuries because they are more likely than others to develop corns, dry skin and nerve endings. All this increases the chances of ulcers (open sores) and infection.
On top of that, diabetes also contributes to poor vision, so it is difficult for them to see and feel if they have a foot injury until it gets worse. A wound that does not heal, in the case of diabetics, can mean not only pain and inconvenience, but a serious danger of gangrene and even amputations of a toe, several or the entire foot.
Don’t be careless. According to reports by the American Podiatric Medical Association, up to 15% of diabetics develop foot ulcers, and of course, you don’t want to be part of the statistics.
Keep in mind that, in the United States, diabetes is the most common cause of lower limb amputations not caused by trauma or accidents.
Preventing injuries is the key
Check your feet daily: carefully check for blisters, corns, peeling or red areas. If you cannot see clearly, ask a third person to examine your feet daily.
Pay attention to the skin: check even changes that seem insignificant, such as redness or swollen areas around the nails. If you notice any problems, consult your doctor.
Keep your feet well moisturized: use a moisturizer to keep the skin on your feet soft, but don’t use lotions between your toes to avoid a fungal infection. To treat athlete’s foot (a very common infection), use a gel medication rather than a cream so that no residue remains between the toes.
Wear proper footwear: If your shoes fit too tightly or too bigly, they can cause blisters. Try to get the best possible fit. Wear closed shoes to avoid toe injuries, even at home. Check your shoes daily to remove any stones or dirt that could accidentally enter and cause rubbing and wounds on the sole of your foot.
Be careful with your socks: avoid those with annoying seams that rub you and those that keep humidity. If possible, buy special socks for diabetics.
Wash your feet carefully every day and dry them very well.
If you have any calluses, try to reduce them with a file or pumice stone. Never cut it with scissors or knives.
Trim your nails and file the edges to avoid ingrown nails.
And last but not least, keep your diabetes under control. That includes monitoring your blood sugar, taking your medications, watching your diet and staying physically active.
Don’t forget to give any injury to your feet, no matter how small, the importance it deserves. This way, it will heal quickly, without causing infections or unnecessary complications.