How to Help Diabetic Leg and Foot Wounds Heal Faster

There are many causes that can attribute to wounds in patients suffering from diabetes
diabetic leg and feet

What is an Ulcer?

An ulcer is a breakdown in the skin, resulting in an open sore. Generally, the ulcer is round and it may have a thickened border. Ulcers may bleed, drain or cause pain and can occur anywhere on your lower extremities.

What Causes Diabetic Wounds?

There are many causes that can attribute to wounds in patients suffering from diabetes:
Elevated blood glucose

When blood sugars reach levels higher than 200 the immune system lowers. This can contribute to the formation of wounds. A small cut that may normally heal without problems may actually become a larger, deeper ulcer due to the dysfunction of the immune system.

Poor circulation

A common problem in patients with diabetes, is poor circulation. Elevated sugars in the blood can damage the small blood vessels, especially the ones to the foot and toes.  When your foot or toes are lacking enough blood, they do not receive proper nutrients.  The skin can begin to break down and an ulcer can form. This is similar to a plant that is not receiving proper water- the ends become brown, crisp and dry out.

Neuropathy

Another common condition that can lead to diabetic ulcers, is neuropathy. Neuropathy is a loss of sensation or feeling, typically in the toes and the feet. You may step on something sharp and not feel it. This can result in a small cut that later becomes a deep wound. If you put a lot of pressure in the same place on your foot, daily, this can also result in a special type of ulcer called a pressure ulcer.

Diet

Adequate diet helps your skin heal faster. If you diet is low in protein and vitamin C, this may contribute to slower wound healing.


How can I Heal my Wound Faster?

Check your feet

Check your feet often. The best medicine is preventative medicine. Make it a habit to check your feet each night, before bed. Take care to look between the toes, check the bottoms and tops of the feet, and if you notice any unusual spot, alert your doctor right away.

Monitor your blood glucose

If you are suffering from diabetes, make it a habit to check your blood glucose, daily. It is important to keep tabs on this number to make sure it is at a healthy range to allow for ideal immune function. Diet and exercise are a great adjunctive measure to help regulate your blood glucose.

Watch for any new changes or pain

Pay attention to how your legs and feet feel. If you suddenly have cramping when walking, or you feel like your legs or feet are getting tired when walking, consider having your circulation checked. If you notice the hair is no longer growing on your feet or toes, this is also a sign of poor circulation. Your podiatrist can perform a simple circulation test to make sure you have the best healing potential, possible.

Pay Attention if your feet or toes are numb

If you have any numbness, burning or tingling, you may be suffering from neuropathy.  Make sure to never walk barefoot.  When wearing socks, choose a white sock, that way if you have a bleeding wound, you can see it on your sock.  Also, check your feet for any pressure sores.  Your podiatrist can perform different tests to check for your nerve function.

Watch your Diet

Make sure your diet contains an array of vitamins.  Without the proper nutrition, your body lacks the building blocks to repair your skin.

As always, the Podiatrists at Certified Foot and Ankle Specialists can help establish the best treatment plan to prevent diabetic wounds and help treat them so you can heal as quickly as possible. Come visit us at any of our 9 locations.
By Jessica Taub, DPM, DABPM, AACFAS

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