Imagine that you have just gotten home from work. It’s been a long day, and you’ve spent the entirety of it on your feet. You knew it probably wasn’t the best day to start wearing that new pair of shoes, but you were eager to break them in and show them off. Now you are just happy to have a chance to sit down. But when you take off your shoes and socks, you are quite a bit less happy to find a blister on your foot. It’s a little painful, but it’s no big deal, right?
Well, that depends. If you are a person with diabetes, something like a blister on your foot could become serious in a hurry. That blister may develop into a diabetic foot ulcer. Many people with diabetes lose feeling in their feet. As a result, they might not even notice a blister or a callus on their feet until it has gotten really bad.
Ideally, you would prevent diabetic foot ulcers from developing in the first place by keeping your blood sugar under control (which can help you maintain feeling in your feet) and by checking your feet daily for any signs of blisters or other wounds, no matter how minor. However, if you do develop an ulcer on your foot, it is important to get medical attention right away.
How Are Foot Ulcers Treated?
Your podiatrist will examine the ulcer and will likely remove unhealthy tissue from the wound. This process, which is called debridement, is an effective way to encourage the body’s own healing systems to kick in and get to work repairing the wound.
In addition to regularly changing the dressing that your doctor places on the wound, you will also have to avoid making the ulcer worse. That means you will need to avoid having anything rub against it and will need to keep weight off of the affected foot. In some cases, a special boot or shoe—or even a cast—may be necessary to allow for proper healing.
In general, a treated foot ulcer should heal in less than four weeks. If it doesn’t—or if an X-ray or MRI reveals you have developed an infection in a bone—your doctor will likely recommend more aggressive approaches to speed healing. Those options could include:
- Having you breathe pure oxygen in a pressurized room, a practice known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy that can promote healing
- Patching the wound with a living cellular skin substitute, which is an artificial skin graft (meaning none of your own skin will need to be used to cover the wound)
Do Not Wait to Get a Foot Ulcer Treated
As we have noted, if you discover an ulcer on your foot, it is extremely important that you see your podiatrist immediately. The danger of serious infection is quite high—and that infection can lead to the worst possible outcome: amputation of your foot.
That would be an extremely high price to pay for developing a blister from your new shoes.
InStride Carolina Podiatry Group Can Effectively Treat Foot Ulcers
The doctors of InStride Carolina Podiatry Group are experts in diabetic foot care. They can teach you what you need to know to ensure that your feet remain healthy after a diabetes diagnosis. And if you do develop a foot ulcer, they have the experience and expertise to diagnose, treat, and monitor healing so that the issue does not become more serious.
At InStride Carolina Podiatry Group, we are committed to helping you continue to enjoy an active lifestyle unhampered by foot problems related to diabetes. We’ll treat any issues you are currently facing and help you prevent future issues from arising. Contact us today to make sure you and your feet stay healthy.