Foot Wound Care
A large part of podiatry involves foot and ankle wound care and complicated limb salvage surgeries to save a person’s leg and quality of life. As specialists in every area below the knee, we can treat many types of wounds right here in our clinics. Foot, ankle and leg wound care involves a few different things including cleaning wounds, applying wound care products to promote and sometimes even performing surgery to heal a foot wound. The real challenge is treating the underlying cause of the wound. Often times there are several aspects to address when it comes to successful wound care.
Comprehensive Wound Care - a way to tackle foot amputation
Recent research has shown that during the Covid pandemic the incidence of potentially avoidable leg and foot amputations associated with non-healing open wounds increased dramatically. (1) This is most likely a result of the inability of patients to access the appropriate care for these wounds.
At Certified Foot and Ankle Specialists, we have a team of lower extremity wound experts of multiple specialties who are committed to being available for patients who require our wound care expertise. We follow CDC guidelines and use research-proven techniques that lead to the healing of difficult wounds usually without the need for hospitalizations.
What are the factors contributing?
We understand that wounds on the legs and feet are not all alike and require the treating team to be able to recognize the different factors contributing to a particular wound. These factors may include any of the following:
- Decreases in function of the nerves, arteries, or veins;
- Inappropriate presence of microbes leading to bacterial, fungal, or viral infection;
- Metabolic abnormalities ranging from lower than normal levels of certain vitamins and minerals to systemic conditions like diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, or liver disease;
- Foot ankle or leg deformities or gait abnormalities that result in abnormal pressures and skin breakdown.
After identifying these underlying factors we are able to customize our treatment approach based on the latest scientific evidence. Frequent communication between our multi-disciplinary team of physicians and the patient’s primary care doctor is also undertaken in order to ensure optimum outcomes are achieved.
In summary, preventing amputation is achieved by identifying and treating the underlying causes of wounds so that they will heal and not come back. Ongoing follow-up care is important to be sure the wound does not recur.
Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association Volume 20; page 224. (Nov 3, 2020).
Limb salvage surgery is a special area of podiatry dedicated to saving legs and promoting a better quality of life. Unfortunately, these cases are usually complicated by severe infection or deformity making them challenging surgeries.
- Many times, a vascular specialist or vein specialist joins the effort and helps tremendously with ankle, leg and foot wound care by addressing blood flow.
- If pressure is the cause for the wound, there are many devices to take the pressure off the wound and promote faster healing.
- Infection may be another reason for slow wound healing, which may need to be treated with antibiotics or sometimes even surgery to cure the infection.
- Neuropathy, or a loss of feeling in the feet, can lead to wounds that require expert wound care by foot and ankle specialists.
- Wounds that are slow to heal should be biopsied to evaluate for possible skin cancer which may need to be treated or removed.
- Diabetics are at very high risk for complicated foot wounds and infections. They should be monitored closely and have regular foot checks by a foot and ankle specialist. Special diabetic shoes and inserts should also be employed as an excellent way to prevent wounds.
The goal is to preserve the foot, ankle and leg, if possible ,as long as the overall health of the person is not at risk. These difficult surgeries often require planning and teamwork with other specialists for the best outcomes. Most people are able to save their limb and function after these complex procedures. Many people who require limb salvage surgery are diabetic so it is important to follow-up with foot and ankle specialists for preventive foot care and regular check-ups.
WOUND CARE TREATMENT
What starts as a small foot wound, can quickly become a major infection so it is important to be diligent and see your doctor for care when necessary. If you have a wound that needs to be addressed, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with our board-certified podiatrists today! 1-855-550-FEET.