Patients with Diabetes Need to Watch Out for Foot Ulcers

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Diabetes is a whole-body illness with many possible negative side effects for the feet and toes. On one end of the spectrum, men and women with poorly managed diabetes, or whose diabetes makes it difficult to regulate blood sugar levels effectively, are at risk of calluses and corns, extremely dry skin, and ingrown toenails. On the more serious side, diabetes puts patients at higher risk for foot deformity, poor circulation, and neuropathy, a loss of sensation in the feet. These factors sometimes combine to create a dangerous diabetic foot ulcer, a wound or open sore that usually appears on the bottom of the foot. These ulcers must be cared for by a podiatrist quickly and effectively, as they can lead to infection or even amputation if untreated.

Diabetic foot ulcers can be the result of something as simple as a small cut or even a blister. If you have neuropathy and it’s challenging for you to perceive discomfort in your feet, you might not notice the wound worsening and ulcerating. Then, if the foot ulcer goes untreated and you continue to walk around on it, the wound can deepen into the muscles, tendons and bones.  At that point, a hospital stay and surgery become more likely, because doctors will need to drain the infection and repair the tissue.  Even then, the risk that the wound won’t heal is real and is serious.  Long-term systemic infections can be threatening to life and limb.

As with so many things, the best treatment for diabetic foot ulcers is prevention. Here are some tips from Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova to help those with diabetes (and others) maintain healthy feet:

  1. Check your feet daily for any sign of injury or infection. If it’s hard to see your feet, ask someone to do it for you, or purchase a small mirror that you can put on the floor. Hold your foot above it and take note of any changes or areas of concern. 
  2. Maintain an active relationship with your foot doctor. Patients with diabetes should be examined by a podiatrist at least once each year, and even more often if you have a history of problems. 
  3. Work with your physician to keep your blood sugar under control and maintain a healthy weight. Take any medication as directed.
  4. Prevent small nicks and cuts. Don’t walk barefoot, even indoors.

If you are concerned about a wound that’s not healing, or if you have any other concerns about the health and well-being of your feet, ankles, or lower legs, click here or call Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care today for a convenient appointment with Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM in our modern, comfortable Pikesville office.