Did you know that approximately 15% of the diabetic population will develop a foot ulcer? As many as 14% of those who develop a foot ulcer will be hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complications that can ultimately lead to an amputation if not addressed promptly and professionally.
The formation of a diabetic foot ulcer is typically a combination of contributing factors such as a lack of feeling in the foot, friction or pressure from shoes, trauma and or poor circulation. The lack of feeling in the feet is a complication of diabetes called neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is a reduced or complete lack of feeling in the feet due to nerve damage caused by elevated blood sugar levels over time.
Vascular disease, or poor circulation, can also contribute to the development of diabetic foot ulcers. If blood flow to the area is restricted, the tissue breaks down easier, the healing process is much slower and infection is much harder to fight off.
Often, the symptoms of a diabetic foot ulcer are not felt, but seen. Patient often note that their first indication of a foot ulcer is drainage or blood on their socks. Other potential indicators are abnormal redness and swelling.
Patients with diabetes must seek immediate medical attention if a diabetic foot ulcer occurs. If an ulcer is present, the treatment involves preventing or treating infection, taking pressure off the area, removing any dead tissue to promote healing, medicating and dressing the wound to keep it clean, and managing the blood sugar levels of the patient.
Seeking medical evaluation and treatment from a podiatrist can lower the rate of complication and reduce the risk of amputation in the diabetic patient. Patient with diabetes should take advantage of preventative diabetic foot checks with a podiatrist. These important examinations are often covered by your health insurance carrier. This preventative check can significantly lower the risk of a foot ulcer. If a foot ulcer is present, a podiatrist can reduce the complication rate by getting involved early in the patient’s care.
If you suspect a foot ulcer or would like to learn more about diabetic foot ulcer prevention, please call our office at 816-943-1111. The doctors at Kansas City Foot and Ankle are diabetic wound care experts who are highly trained in the prevention and treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.