Diabetes and feet have a tumultuous relationship, so diabetic foot care has many significant components. Perhaps the most important of all is effective care for foot wounds. All of us here at Palm Beach Podiatry want our patients to stay safe and healthy, and this means recognizing diabetic wounds and getting early treatment for them. An otherwise healthy individual might not need to give a tremendous amount of thought to a minor injury, but even small issues can escalate into a major medical situation for diabetic individuals.
Symptoms of Diabetic Wounds
For a majority of individuals who live with diabetes, neuropathy is also part of the picture. Damaged nerves can be unable to transmit physical sensations back to the brain, which means that an individual who has this condition cannot always rely on pain to be the primary symptom when an issue is present.
Being unable to feel pain makes a daily foot inspection quite important, so you can see problems that you can’t feel. The best time to do this is before going to bed at night. This helps in making it a routine that you follow every day. When inspecting your feet, go over each one carefully and be sure to include the areas between the toes. If it is difficult to see the bottom of your feet, enlist the help of a loved one or use a mirror.
Warning signs you are looking for during the inspection include signs of infection (drainage, dead tissue, discharge, and foul odor) and inflammation (redness, swelling). In addition, any texture, growth, color, or temperature that is out of the ordinary is a warning flag and should be investigated by our foot specialists.
Wound Care Treatment
Prompt care is essential for wounds when neuropathy is present. This means taking the time to understand some basic first aid. In the case of a cut, scrape, or burst blister, this entails rinsing the affected area—to remove any dirt particles—under running water. It might seem like a good idea, but do not attempt to treat the area with hydrogen peroxide, soap, or iodine, as these substances can lead to irritation. Instead, finish rinsing the wound and then apply an antibiotic ointment and a sterile bandage over it.
Every day, replace the bandage with a sterile, fresh one and clean the area around the wound—but not the wound itself—with mild soap and warm water on the unaffected skin. While changing the dressing, inspect the entire area for any symptoms indicating an infection.
Even in cases of minor cuts or scrapes, schedule the earliest possible appointment with any of our three offices. It is much better to seek help at this point than wait for the problem to escalate in severity.
In the event that a daily foot inspection leads to the observance of a foot ulcer, you need immediate medical care and treatment. This is necessary for reducing the risk of infection and a potential amputation.
Diabetic Ulcer Prevention
The best form of diabetic wound care is to prevent one from happening in the first place. This means having a prevention plan in place. The process for creating one begins here at Palm Beach Podiatry. We will assess your current condition and determine your particular risk factors for developing foot ulcers. From that point, we can create a plan centered on taking certain measures to keep you safe.
Smoking, drinking alcohol, high cholesterol, and elevated glucose levels are all issues that need to be managed to reduce the risk of a diabetic wound. Protecting your feet with the right shoes and socks is also a wise choice for preventing an issue from developing. Our staff will be happy to help you with choosing diabetic footwear.
Take a moment before putting on your socks and shoes to check the insides to make sure there isn’t anything inside that could potentially harm your feet.
Diabetic Foot Care at Palm Beach Podiatry
For additional information or to schedule your appointment with Palm Beach Podiatry, contact us today. You can reach our Boynton Beach office by calling (561) 734-3100, our Loxahatchee office by calling (561) 791-7773, or our Fort Pierce office at (772) 468-0089.