Foot care is not an option for someone with diabetes. The good news is that most severe diabetes complications of the feet and ankles are preventable with vigilant regular inspections and proactive care, but unfortunately about 15 percent of people with diabetes will ultimately develop an open wound or ulcer on their feet. Without treatment, that wound can quickly get a severe infection and even lead to the loss of a toe, foot, or even limb—diabetes is by far the leading cause of non-traumatic amputations in the U.S. each year.
While outright prevention is always preferable, it’s critically important that any open sores, ulcers, or wounds are identified immediately and addressed by Family Foot and Ankle Center as quickly as possible. Our goal will be to achieve healing as quickly as possible, address or prevent any infection, and ultimately save you from requiring an amputation.
We’ll make sure that the wound is fully cleaned of all foreign debris, and we may also need to remove any dead skin or other tissues, a processes known as debridement—this allows healthy tissue to gradually grow and regenerate. We’ll also apply topical medications and dress the wound in a bandage, and we’ll make sure you have the antibiotics necessary to either deal with or prevent an infection.
During the recovery phase, it will be important to “offload,” or in other words strictly avoid bearing weight on the wound site, particularly those located on the bottom of the foot. You may need to wear a brace or cast and use crutches or a wheelchair for a little while. You will likely need to periodically reapply topical medications and re-dress the wound periodically, and return for checkup or maintenance visits.
Full healing in many cases takes a couple weeks, but depending on the severity can take a few months. While we know that going through the recovery process can be frustrating, the alternative—a severe infection and losing part of a foot or limb—is worth avoiding at all costs. Seeking immediate treatment and carefully following all your doctor’s directions gives you the best chance to overcome the process physically intact.
If you notice a diabetic wound or ulcer, don’t delay—contact us immediately. You can set up an appointment at one of our six Greater Cincinnati offices online, or by calling 888-689-3317.