How Ulcer Care May Save Your Feet

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetic complications are one of the leading causes of amputations in the USA. We wouldn’t want to see any of our patients lose a limb due to a condition that could have been prevented. Ulcers and foot sores turn into serious medical conditions if they are not discovered in time. The silver lining to this dark cloud is that understanding the importance of caring for sores on your feet goes a long way towards avoiding amputations.

Non-healing Sores on Your Feet

foot ulcer diagram

A foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that keeps returning or does not heal properly. This becomes a critical matter for those who live with diabetes. A condition that often accompanies this disease, neuropathy (nerve damage), causes loss of physical sensation in your feet. This situation makes you unaware of injury or cracks that can lead to an infection.

These foot sores are typically found on pressure points—heel, ball of foot—on the bottom of your feet and have variable coloration (may appear pink, red, brown, or black), depending on your circulation. In addition to pressure points, an ulcer can develop anywhere that has sustained damage, which is important to remember if you injure your foot.

Added Danger from Calluses and Blisters

For otherwise healthy individuals, a callus is not a big deal. This patch of dead, hardened skin was developed in response to persistent friction or pressure and does not cause any issues. When you live with diabetes, though, you need to remember that a callus can be a precursor to a foot ulcer, and this is a serious matter.

The same applies to blisters. A non-diabetic person can develop a blister without it being anything more than an annoyance, but these fluid-filled bubbles could open the door for a dangerous infection if they burst and are not treated properly.

Treatment of Foot Sores

The key to successful foot ulcer treatment is timeliness. What you may deem as a “little cut” should be treated immediately. As soon as you are aware of a cut, hopefully at the time of injury, apply a triple antibiotic cream and then cover your wound with a light gauze. Be sure to keep pressure off the area and make the earliest possible appointment with our office.

Prevention Is Key for Healthy Feet

The best practices for taking care of your feet and preventing a dangerous situation include:

  • Perform a daily foot inspection. At night, before going to bed, wash your feet with mild soap and warm (not hot) water and carefully dry them. Then, inspect them both visually and by touch to see if anything is out of the ordinary. You may need a mirror or a loved one to help check the bottoms of your feet. If you find anything that is not normal, call us for the earliest possible appointment.
  • Keep your feet dry... Moisture can cause your skin to breakdown, which increases the risk of infection. Your skin is the body’s frontline defense, so it needs to be able to function at optimal levels to keep you safe. This is simply not possible if the skin is excessively moist.
  • …but not too dry. You don’t want your skin to be too wet, but overly dry skin leads to cracks and fissures, which open the door for infections. After you have washed and dried your feet, apply a moisturizer to the tops and bottoms (while avoiding the areas between your toes) and then put on a pair of thick socks for the night.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Avoid tight shoes that have pointy toes and high heels. Instead, opt for comfortable styles that have room for your toes to be able to wiggle.

If you live with diabetes, part of successfully managing your health is forming a trusting partnership with a caring, expert podiatrist, like our Dr. Joseph LaCava. Contact Central Arkansas Foot Care today to learn more about how to prevent ulcers and foot sores or get the treatment you need.

Call (501) 321-4844 for our Hot Springs office, or (870) 245-3003 for our Arkadelphia office. You can also use our online form to request an appointment at any of our three locations.