Diabetic ulcers are a common complication in patients with diabetes. About 70% of those who develop an ulcer experience a worsening of the condition within five years. This statistic shows just how important prevention is. Preventing ulcers can help you avoid the risks associated with ulcers, which include infections and amputations.
Here at the Diabetic Foot and Wound Center in Bakersfield, California, we provide regular examinations to help spot small issues before they turn into bigger ones. Not only can we help reduce your risk of foot ulcers, but we can treat ulcers that do develop.
Here, our medical team focuses on prevention steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing an ulcer.
Preventing foot wounds and ulcers
Prevention tips fall into three categories: general diabetes management, foot and nail care, and regular examinations.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can increase your risk of experiencing diabetes-related complications. Diabetes doesn’t just affect your circulation. It can affect nearly every body system, including your vision, cardiovascular system, nervous system, digestive system, urinary tract and kidneys, etc.
Diabetes management includes taking medication, following a well-balanced diet, logging regular exercise, and conducting routine blood sugar monitoring.
Foot and nail care
In addition to managing your diabetes, you can prevent wounds and ulcers by taking care of your feet and nails. Keep these tips in mind:
- Wash feet daily with water less than 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (this reduces the risk of burns and is especially important if you have diabetic neuropathy and can’t feel the heat as well)
- Dry feet thoroughly to reduce the risk of fungal infections
- Moisturize feet (except the toes) to reduce the risk of cracks
- Keep nails neat and trimmed
- Always wear footwear to protect feet from accidental scrapes and cuts
- Wear high-quality socks to prevent blisters (and change them if they are wet)
- Avoid heating pads near your feet
Tip: Because blisters can turn into slow-healing and infected wounds easily for diabetic patients, choose supportive shoes that provide support and cushion. Additionally, choose socks without seams, which can also irritate your feet.
Sometimes quick treatment for a small wound can prevent the wound from escalating into a bigger problem. The best way to spot a potential problem is to examine your feet every day. This is especially important after going for a walk or being on your feet all day long.
In addition to your own daily foot examinations, regular podiatric care plays a big role in keeping your feet healthy. Regular diabetic foot care can include toenail trims, removal of excess skin from calluses, and removal of corns. If needed, we can also perform diagnostic tests (including vascular ultrasounds and nerve conduction studies) to assess the health of your feet.
Treating wounds carefully
Even with your best efforts, it’s still possible that you develop a wound. Even a blister from a new pair of shoes requires careful and thorough treatment to prevent complications. If you have diabetes, don’t try to treat a small wound at home. Swift podiatric care can help you avoid severe wounds and infections.
Wound care can include wound debridement, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and vascular treatment. If you’d like to learn more about wound prevention or diabetic wound treatment, schedule an appointment at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center in Bakersfield. You can reach us at 661-238-7526, or you can use our online scheduling tool.