Diabetic ulcers are becoming one of the major causes of amputation of a toe or limb. A small sore can turn into a large wound in a very small amount of time. If you are diabetic, it is important to seek proper care and precautions need to be taken in order to prevent ulcers and to stop an existing ulcers from progressing into uncontrollable wounds. These precautions can be summarized into offloading, decreasing bacterial load, and insuring adequate blood flow.
Offloading simply means to not put weight on the ulcer. Offloading is accomplished by wearing special shoes that allow you to walk, but decrease pressure on the ulcer site. Excess walking will put pressure and friction on the wound site. These forces prevent the skin cells from healing the wound. If a diabetic with a history of diabetic wounds goes barefoot just once, an ulcer can open up in a short amount of time.
Moist, dead skin is a perfect environment for bacteria to multiply and potentially infect a wound. By seeing your podiatrist regularly, this dead skin can be “debrided” or removed from around the ulcer. This decreases the amount of bacteria threatening the wound so as to decrease the chance of the ulcer becoming infected.
Blood is the substance that contains all the growth factors and oxygen needed for the body to heal itself. You may be confused to why you leave your podiatrist with your wound bleeding. Debriding the wound not only removes dead skin, but it removes any dead material actually inside the wound to insure the base of the ulcer is receiving blood to its surface.
When these three precautions are met, ulcers tend to heal without complication. With proper vigilance, a diabetic can avoid ulcerations and amputations altogether.