Little things can make a big difference. There are a variety of contexts in which this truth can be found, but an unlikely one is centered on diabetic wound care. It does not take much for a major situation to develop for an individual who is living with diabetes. At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, we understand this and want you to be educated so you can perform preventative measures on your own and know when it is time to come in and see us.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects your body in various ways. It does not allow you to use glucose or sugar in the appropriate manner and this leads to other issues, including neuropathy, narrow arteries, and a weakened immune system. Neuropathy is a result of nerve damage that disables you from feeling the pain of a cut or blister. This can become a major issue since an unnoticed wound can worsen and become dangerously infected. Narrow arteries make it difficult for blood to get to a wound, impeding the healing process. Your body’s immune system is needed to fight off infection, but an individual with diabetes is likely to have a weakened or compromised system. These conditions are the reason proper diabetic wound care is essential for avoiding infection or even amputation.
Situations That Lead to Wounds
A major concern with diabetes is the development of foot ulcers. These are open sores or wounds that are caused by a combination of factors. Lack of feeling in the foot, trauma, friction or pressure, and poor circulation all have the potential of leading to ulcerations. Some of the early warning signs of these wounds include drainage on your socks, redness and swelling, and potentially odor. In addition to ulcers, excessively dry skin can lead to a wound if the skin cracks and breaks. This opens the door for infection to get inside the body.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and this is something anyone living with diabetes needs to take to heart. The most essential preventative measure you can take with regard to diabetic foot care is to check your feet every single day. Make sure there are no cuts or scrapes and that coloration is normal. Take note if there is anything unusual and, if there is, schedule an appointment with Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists as soon as possible.
While you are giving them attention, take the time to wash your feet with mild soap and warm—not hot—water. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria, which, in turn, helps prevent the risk of infection. Afterwards, dry your feet well to avoid retaining moisture, which can lead to skin breakdowns. With your feet fully inspected, washed, and dried, you should apply moisturizer in order to keep the skin from drying and cracking—not between the toes, though, where fungus can thrive.
Another key step in preventing a diabetic wound is to always wear shoes or rubber-soled sandals. This will serve to avoid the potential of stepping on a sharp object, cutting yourself, and not being aware of it.
When You Need Diabetic Wound Care
Preventative measures aren’t foolproof. They do decrease risk, but even lessened risk still leaves the door open for the chance of issues surfacing. The key is to get treatment immediately. If you have a cut, put triple antibiotic cream on the sore immediately. Cover the wound with gauze and make sure you avoid pressure to the affected area. Come in to see either Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS or Dr. Shine John, DPM, FACFAS as soon as possible. You will also want to see us if, in your daily inspection, you notice the formation of a callus. In a diabetic patient, these can become foot ulcers and lead to dangerous conditions.
If you have diabetes, let Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists help you create a plan to keep you as safe as possible. Our office is located in Austin, TX, and our phone number is (512) 328-8900. Call us today to schedule an appointment!
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