Stepping Towards Healing: Managing Diabetes Foot Ulcers in Ventura with Expert Care
If you have uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, you can be prone to one of the most common complications, foot ulcers. Globally, diabetic foot ulcers affect more than 18.6 million people yearly, including 1.6 million in the US.
This ulcer has contributed to 80% of lower limb amputations, especially among diabetic people. But on a positive note, the sooner this ulcer is diagnosed, the faster it can be treated.
This article explains foot ulcers, their symptoms, and treatment options.
What Is a Diabetic Foot Ulcer?
Diabetic foot ulcers are open sores that form due to the skin’s soft tissue breaking down and exposing the layers underneath. This forms mainly at the bottom of the foot. It can be small, red, and circular, surrounded by thick dead skin, and it worsens quickly if not treated quickly.
Though these ulcers can pop anywhere on the toes or feet, diabetic patients develop foot ulcers mainly at the bottom of the foot or under the big toes.
The leading causes of foot ulcers are high sugar levels, poor circulation, peripheral neuropathy, and irritation or wounds on the feet.
There are three types of diabetic ulcers:
Neuropathic, where wounds develop due to peripheral neuropathy. Here, the patient will lose sensation and won’t feel pain.
Ischemic ulcers emerge due to ischemia, which occurs when a body part doesn’t receive adequate blood flow.
Neuroischemic wounds combine neuropathy and ischemia, contributing to their development.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Diabetes can increase the chances of developing foot ulcers. The worst part is that diabetic patients who overlook managing the disease with diet, exercise, and proper medication are at risk.
Risk factors that enhance foot ulcer complications are:
- Poor blood circulation
- Irritated or injured feet
- High blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia)
- Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy)
- Structural foot deformities, such as bunions or hammertoes
- Smoking cigarettes
- Alcohol consumption
- Calluses or corns
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Improper toenail trimming
- Poorly fitting or poor-quality shoes
- Improper toenail trimming
- Vision problems that make it difficult to see your feet clearly
Different Stages of Foot Ulcers With Symptoms
To understand the severity of the diabetes foot ulcer, doctors identify the different stages of foot ulcers with respect to their size, location, depth, and area affected.
There are six stages of diabetes foot ulcers, such as:
Stage 1: A normal foot with no risk factors
Diabetes patients can potentially develop foot ulcers if their health is not cared for. As a result, there are no open lesions in stage 1, and the lesion may have healed.
So, if you risk developing diabetic foot ulcers, your healthcare provider will advise you to wear well-fitting footwear and start taking care of your foot.
This includes wearing comfortable shoes, performing routine toenail care, and following healthy foot habits.
Stage 2: High-risk foot
If you are diabetic and show symptoms of foot ulcers, such as nerve damage or loss of blood flow, these conditions can put you at a higher risk of foot ulcers.
In this stage, you have a superficial ulcer without penetrating deeper layers.
If your foot has calluses, a hardened skin area on the foot or hand caused by repeated friction, wear, or use, it must be removed by debridement. This is a procedure that involves removing dead skin.
Stage 3: A foot with an ulcer
If you show visible signs of a foot ulcer, such as swelling, skin discoloration, or other symptoms, your doctor will try to decrease the pressure applied to your foot and prevent this infection from spreading further.
You will be advised to use an air cast or wheelchair or get complete bed rest. Also, effective wound care is crucial during this stage to minimize the risk of infection.
Sage 4: An infected foot
If your foot ulcers show an infected wound, it is stage 4, and this stage may require hospitalization to get it treated better.
Here, a sample of the foot ulcer’s wound, like a fluid, skin, or tissue sample, is taken to identify the fungus or bacteria. This is inspected to find the best antibiotic to treat the infection. If the wound is deep, you may require a surgical procedure to drain and cut away infected tissue to control the infection.
Stage 5: Diabetic foot with gangrene
When your diabetic foot has dead tissue due to infection or a lack of blood flow, called gangrene, it’s stage 5. The treatment for this stage involves hospital admission, antibiotics, and bed rest. Based on the severity, you may also need some surgical intervention.
Stage 6: Full-foot gangrene that needs amputation
This is the final stage, where the foot ulcer damage is so severe that the foot needs to be removed. After foot amputation, you must be extra careful because immobility after surgery can cause pressure ulcers on the other foot.
So, you must use a special mattress or wedge pillow and move your foot regularly to prevent ulcers from forming.
If you doubt whether you have foot ulcers, seek medical attention immediately. Our diabetes foot ulcer treatment in Oxnard has an expert team that provides accurate diagnosis and specialized care to help you heal and regain mobility.
What Is the Rate at Which Diabetic Foot Ulcers Spread?
If the diabetic foot ulcer is treated initially, the better your outcome can be. For instance, if you are a diabetic patient and have a foot with a small blister and leave it untreated, it is likely to become a large ulcer within days.
So, if you are diabetic and your levels are hard to manage, taking good care of your feet is essential.
In some cases, high blood sugar levels for prolonged periods can cause a loss of sensation in your feet. This can result in an ulcer that goes unnoticed for some time, thus delaying your treatment.
When Should You Seek Treatment for Diabetic Foot Ulcers?
Experts from the diabetes foot ulcer treatment center in Ventura say there are two main instances when you must seek treatment for diabetes foot ulcers.
If you are a diabetic patient with foot ulcer symptoms, you must seek medical help immediately. Your healthcare provider will examine, confirm, and treat it.
Meanwhile, if you already have a foot ulcer, watch for signs of worsening. If you show symptoms such as increased redness, draining pus, or fever, get help from your healthcare professional.
In short, it’s essential to seek your health professional’s advice for foot ulcers, be safe, and avoid getting into the risk zone of severe foot ulcers and amputation.
Treating Diabetic Foot Ulcers
When you suffer from foot ulcers, you naturally develop immense pain. So, in the first place, you will be recommended to offload, which means staying off your feet to prevent pain from ulcers. This helps reduce the pressure from walking, which can make an infection worse and spread the disease.
This practice is helpful for all forms of diabetic foot ulcers.
Protecting your feet
Protecting your feet is the first step to treating foot ulcers. Your doctor may recommend the following to care for your feet:
- Foot braces
- Compression wraps
- Shoes designed for people with diabetes
- Shoe inserts to prevent corns and calluses
Treating foot ulcer infections
Foot ulcers can occur due to removing dead skin or foreign objects that can cause the ulcer.
Also, infections are considered a serious complication of a foot ulcer and need immediate treatment because they can worsen the disease.
But remember that not all infections are treated the same way. The tissue surrounding the ulcer is initially examined in a laboratory to ascertain the most suitable antibiotic for treatment.
Diabetes foot ulcer-treating medical professionals in Ventura say that if they suspect a serious infection, they may even order an X-ray to check for signs of a bone infection.
Prevent the infection of a foot ulcer with the following:
- Enzyme treatments
- Foot baths
- The skin around the ulcer must be infected.
- Letting the ulcer dry with frequent dressing changes
- Dressings containing calcium alginates to prevent bacterial growth
Foot ulcer treatment should address all three important concerns, including debridement, offloading, and infection control. Though all physicians don’t need to be capable of treating diabetic foot ulcers, they need to be knowledgeable enough to diagnose the initial evaluation and refer patients promptly to the specialists.
If your foot ulcer infection is spreading deep even after anti-pressure or other preventive treatments, your healthcare professional will prescribe antibiotics, antiplatelets, or anticlotting medications to control its progression and treat it.
The antibiotics attack the bacteria named Staphylococcus aureus that cause staph infections, or ß-hemolytic Streptococcus bacteria found in your intestines.
In most cases, you don’t need surgery to heal your foot ulcer. But if there is no other treatment option, surgery can only prevent your ulcer from spreading or leading to amputation.
Get advanced care for diabetic foot ulcers in Oxnard. Book an appointment to get in touch with a specialist today.
How Do I Keep Foot Ulcer Complications at Bay?
Researchers show that half of diabetic foot ulcers are prone to infection. Also, 20% of diabetic patients suffer from moderate to severe foot ulcers, which can lead to amputation.
These statistics underscore the importance of foot ulcer preventive care.
If you are a diabetic patient, follow these measures to avoid the chances of diabetic complications.
- Wash your feet every day with lukewarm water.
- Clean the toenails and avoid trimming them too short.
- Use a foot cream or gentle lotion to keep the skin soft and prevent cracks that invite bacteria and infections.
- Change your socks frequently.
- Consult a podiatrist for corn and callus removal.
- Wearing proper-fitting and comfortable shoes
Do regular self-exams to catch foot ulcers in their early stages. You can inspect your feet daily and look for redness, swelling, cuts, blisters, and nail issues.
Diabetes can easily put you at risk for a number of health complications, especially foot ulcers, which need immediate treatment. Though foot ulcers seem like a serious problem, you can treat them if they are diagnosed early.
This is why medical professionals keep stressing to diabetic patients to take care of their feet and inform them if any changes occur in their feet. Just by managing to keep blood sugars at a normal level, you can keep foot ulcers at bay. Thus, it can prevent a diabetic foot ulcer from forming or getting worse. Your carelessness can put you at risk of losing your foot.
Are you looking for diabetes foot ulcer treatment in Ventura or Oxnard?
The Center for Advanced Wound Care is a comprehensive wound management program focusing on delivering high-quality, efficient care for patients with acute and chronic wounds. You can access our facility at different locations, including Ventura, Oxnard, and Camarillo.
Fill out the contact form to book an appointment for a comprehensive foot assessment performed by our specialists.