Too often in life, we allow small matters to roll downhill and snowball into much larger issues. Slight misunderstandings sometimes end up costing friendships or cause siblings not to talk to each other for years. In a similar fashion, this is what happens when a diabetic individual sustains a minor injury, like a small cut on a foot. This minor wound does not start out as life-threatening, but it creates an entryway into the body for an infection that could require amputation. A vigilant approach to diabetic wound care reduces the risk of major complication and keeps you safe.
Remove trauma-related incidents from the picture and then diabetes becomes the leading cause of amputations for lower-body extremities. Given that diabetic wounds open the door for this possibility, the importance of caring for them becomes quite evident. Quick responses to health issues and preventative measures to reduce the risk of them developing in the first place are both key components of an effective diabetic wound care plan.
Being able to recognize diabetic wounds easily means understanding the two origins – internal and external. Those of external origin include bruises, bumps, burns, and cuts, any of which may go unnoticed by a diabetic patient if peripheral neuropathy accompanies the disease, as it does in over half of all cases of diabetes. Wounds that originate internally include calluses, ingrown toenails, and diabetic foot ulcers, any of which might result in the breakdown of surrounding skin and tissue, thereby opening the door for bacterial infection.
Treating Diabetic Wounds
Medical treatment for a diabetic wound may only provide limited help, especially if the wound has been unattended for some time. In some cases, antibiotics might be able to treat or prevent an infection. If there is already tissue death, surgical debridement could possibly enable healthy tissue to regenerate and heal. In extreme cases, amputation may be necessary to save as much of a limb as possible from a serious infection.
Essential Prevention Measures
Better than treatment, prevention is the preferred option for ensuring your health and safety. Given that diabetic wounds can evolve into major complications, including ones that are even life-threatening, it is always a smart idea to take the following steps:
- Keep your feet clean. In part, this helps by removing potential contaminants, but clean skin also makes it easier to see tiny cuts and scrapes that could ultimately lead to bigger issues. Use warm water, mild soap, and a gentle towel to completely clean your feet. Afterwards, dry them thoroughly, including the areas between your toes.
- Daily foot inspection. Carefully inspect both of your feet for anything this is out of the ordinary. Use a mirror or ask for the help of a loved one if you cannot see the bottoms. Be sure to check between all of your toes. If you have neuropathy in your feet, gently run your fingers over them to check for bumps or temperature issues.
- Keep your toenails trimmed. A case of ingrown toenail can be painful for an otherwise healthy individual, but it can lead to a diabetic wound for those who live with this disease. If you do not feel comfortable handling this by yourself, the professionals in our office would be glad to do it for you.
- Use moisturizer. Dry skin can break down and lead to ulcers. Keep this from happening by using moisturizing lotion on the tops, bottoms, and heel areas of your feet. Avoid using it between your toes, however, as this can increase the risk of fungal or bacterial infection.
- Protect your feet. Always wear footwear, even when indoors. Before you put your shoes on, inspect the insides to make sure there isn’t anything in there that could cause damage or cut a foot. Wear clean, dry socks to decrease the likelihood of a dangerous infection.
Effective Diabetic Wound Care in Long Island, NY
Your best bet for diabetic wound care is to prevent issues in the first place. Our staff here at Foot Specialists of Long Island is ready to help. Come in to our Massapequa, NY office and create your diabetic foot care plan with the help of caring foot experts. Give us a call at (516) 804-9038 or use our online form and schedule your appointment today.