Treatments for Diabetic Ulcers

Treatments for Diabetic Ulcers

Foot ulcers are a common complication of uncontrolled diabetes; high blood sugar eventually damages your blood vessels and nerves. As a result, you will have reduced sensation on your feet, making you less likely to treat minor wounds before they become ulcers. Damage to blood vessels lessens blood flow to your hands, feet, and limbs, so sores and cuts take longer to heal. If you have a diabetic foot ulcer, Dallas Wound Evolution – wound care and hyperbaric medicine can help prevent serious infections or gangrene. Sometimes physicians can treat the infection, but the affected area may need amputation in severe cases. If you have a foot ulcer, your healthcare provider may use one of the following treatments.

Debridement

Debridement involves removing necrotic or infected skin tissue to restart the healing process of the wound. You should never remove dead skin or tissue by yourself; instead, let a podiatrist do this to ensure debridement is done correctly and doesn’t worsen the injury. In most cases, specialists use conservative sharp or surgical sharp debridement to treat diabetic foot ulcers. Below are general steps of what treatment involves.

  • Your healthcare provider cleans and disinfects the wound
  • Using a metal instrument, your provider probes the wound to establish if there is any foreign material in the ulcer.
  • The doctor cuts away the dead tissue using a scalpel, scissors, or curettes.
  • After excising the dead tissues, the sore usually appears bigger. The ulcer should be red or pink; pale wounds that are red or purple are less likely to heal.

Other types of debridement your healthcare provider may use include:

  • Biological debridement. Sterile maggots eat old tissue for this treatment and release antibacterial substances to control infection.
  • Autolytic debridement. Your doctor uses body enzymes and natural fluids to soften bad tissue. It is done by applying moisture-retaining dressing to the wound.
  • Enzymatic debridement, also known as chemical debridement, uses enzymes from plants or animals to dissolve dead tissue from the wound.

Taking pressure off your foot ulcer (off-loading)

Staying off your feet can help prevent all forms of diabetic ulcers. Sometimes pressure on one part of your foot can cause ulcers. Your provider may recommend wearing braces, a special cast, compression wraps, or shoes designed for people with diabetes. Using shoe inserts can also help prevent corns and calluses, which may eventually become foot ulcers. These devices can help relieve pressure off your feet and speed healing. Exerting pressure on the healing ulcer for even a few minutes can reverse the recovery during the day.

If you are at risk of foot ulcers, your podiatrist may advise wearing shoes made of canvas, leather, or suede. Avoid plastic shoes or footwear made out of materials that don’t allow air in and out. Ensure your shoes are not too tight and fit properly; you may need custom-made shoes. You also want to avoid shoes with open or pointed toes like high heels and sandals.

The risk of diabetes complications remains low when your blood sugar levels are controlled, so ensure you take your medication as your doctor advises. You can also reduce your risk of foot ulcers by ensuring your feet are well-groomed.

If you have further questions about the treatment of foot ulcers, consult your specialist at Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Specialists.

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