Diabetic Wounds: Guidelines for Proper Care and Treatment
If you have diabetes, you should never ignore a wound no matter how superficial or small it may seem. Any injury such as cutting your leg while shaving, a blister from your shoes, or even stubbing your toe on a table all require medical attention if you are a diabetic.
Why Proper Diabetic Foot Care is So Important
Diabetics do not properly utilize sugar, or glucose, the same way in which a non-diabetic person does. This can result in many complications, including a few that make it much harder for certain wounds to adequately heal. Some of these conditions include:
- A Weak Immune System: Even a seemingly insignificant wound can get infected when the natural defenses of the body are decreased.
- Narrow Arteries: Narrow arteries make it more difficult for blood to travel the wound site. People who have narrow, or clogged, arteries throughout their legs have a higher risk of developing wounds and may suffer from serious wound infections.
- Neuropathy (Nerve Damage): Someone with neuropathy may not actually feel the pain from a blister or cut until it worsens or develops into an infection.
Diabetes Care and Wound Treatment
Regardless of how unimportant you may think your wound is, follow these important steps in order to promote healing and avoid infection altogether:
- Immediately Tend to Your Wound
Once bacteria are allowed to accumulate inside even the smallest wound after an injury, in can result in infection.
- Thoroughly Clean Your Wound
Upon injury, thoroughly rinse your wound under clean running water to remove all traces of debris. However, do not use hydrogen peroxide, soap, or iodine since these can irritate your injury. Next, liberally apply antibiotic ointment to the affected area in order to prevent infection. Use a sterile bandage to cover the wound.
- Visit Your Doctor
Good diabetes care means seeing your doctor for even the smallest injury. It’s best to err on the side of caution and have your doctor check your diabetic foot or any other minor skin issues you may have including areas of redness. If left unchecked, these could turn into much larger problems down the road.
- Keep Pressure Off Your Wound
While your wound is healing, it’s crucial to keep pressure off of it. This is particularly true if the wound site is on the bottom of the foot. Staying off of it will increase your chances of healing.
Diabetic Foot Wounds Should be Taken Seriously
For a person with diabetes, the ankles and feet are especially susceptible to diabetic wound complications. Healing the body below the knee poses different circumstances than the rest of the body since they are more vulnerable to swelling and can therefore hinder the healing process.
If you suffer from diabetes, it’s extremely important to constantly be aware of any indications of infections such as skin that’s warm to the touch or appears red, or wounds that drain fluid. Note that the American Foot and Leg Specialists offer a number of locations within the Atlanta metro area if you need immediate diabetic foot care for either yourself or a loved one.