If you have diabetes, you have an increased chance of developing diabetic ulcers, which is the ulcers on foot. Diabetic ulcer most often occurs on the pad (ball) of the foot or the bottom of the big toe.
We all know what an ulcer looks like. However, diabetic ulcer may show no obvious symptoms until one day it gets infected. If you begin to see any skin discoloration, especially tissue that has turned black, or feel any pain around an area that appears callused or irritated, you should call your doctor.
The seriousness of a diabetic ulcer is evaluated from 0 to 3 upon the following criteria:
0: no ulcer but foot at risk
1: ulcer present but no infection
2: ulcer deep, exposing joints and tendons
3: extensive ulcers or abscesses from infection
Debridement – Debridement is the process to remove dead skin and tissue. Doctors or nurses will clean and disinfect the wound, cut away the dead tissue, then wash out the ulcer. After debridement, your sore may seem bigger and deeper, and look like fresh meat.
Dressing – Wet-to-dry dressings are often used first. This process involves applying a wet dressing to your wound. As the dressing dries, it absorbs wound material. When the dressing is removed, some of the tissue comes off with it. There are also other types of dressings, including the dressing with medicine.
Anti-pressure treatments – Off-loading is helpful for all forms of diabetic foot ulcers. Pressure from walking can make an infection worse and an ulcer expand. You doctor may recommend wearing diabetic shoes or compression wraps to protect your feet. Off-loading is important in preventing foot ulcer from returning.
For people who are overweight, extra pressure may be the cause of ongoing foot pain.
Medications – Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, antiplatelets, or anti-clotting medications to treat your ulcer if the infection progresses even after preventive or anti-pressure treatments.
OTC Treatments – Many topical treatments are available for foot ulcers, including:
- dressings containing silver or silver sulphadiazine cream
- polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) gel or solutions
- iodine (either povidone or cadexomer)
- medical grade honey in ointment or gel form
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, 14 to 24 percent of Americans with diabetic foot ulcers have amputations. Preventive care is crucial. Closely manage your blood glucose, as your chances of diabetes complications remain low when your blood sugar is stable. You can also help prevent diabetic foot problems by:
- washing your feet every day
- keep toenails adequately trimmed, but not too short
- keeping your feet dry and moisturized
- changing your socks frequently
- seeing a podiatrist for corn and callus removal
- wearing proper-fitting shoes