About 15% of people with diabetes experience diabetic ulcers. Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, ulcers can become infected, requiring the need for surgical intervention or amputation. At Wound Evolution - Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas, wound care specialists Ashley Huddleston, MD, Autumn Savage, DO, CWS-P, and the team offer safe, effective treatments for diabetic ulcers. To schedule an appointment, call or book online today.
Diabetic ulcers are open sores on your skin that heal slowly, increasing your risk of infection and gangrene. They usually form on your lower extremities, like the legs, feet, and toes, but can also occur on your hands or stomach.
If you have diabetes, it causes your blood sugar levels to spike. When left unmanaged, high blood sugar levels can damage your nerves and veins. Over time, this prevents blood flow from reaching your extremities, making it harder for sores or cuts to heal.
Diabetes also increases your risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD) –– another chronic condition that negatively affects blood flow –– and diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). When the nerves in your feet don’t work as they should, you can cut or injure yourself and not realize it. This makes it possible for small wounds to turn into ulcers.
Yes. If you want to lower your risk of diabetic ulcers, it’s important you regularly monitor your blood sugar levels and keep them in check. Additionally, Wound Evolution - Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine recommends you:
You can also lower your risk of diabetic ulcers by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. The healthier your lifestyle, the better.
To diagnose diabetic ulcers, the team at Wound Evolution - Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine conducts a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and asks about your symptoms and lifestyle. During your exam, your provider carefully examines your feet, toes, and ankles, looking for cuts, blisters, redness, or warmth.
Usually, these measures are enough to provide a diagnosis. However, if your provider suspects another underlying health problem, they might order blood tests or diagnostic imaging to get a closer look at the bones, joints, and soft tissue in your feet and ankles.
Treatment of diabetic ulcers begins with wound debridement. This procedure involves the team at Wound Evolution - Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine carefully removing diseased or damaged tissue from around the ulcer, which encourages healing.
Your provider also develops a custom treatment plan to prevent your ulcer from becoming infected or getting bigger. This usually combines several treatments, including daily cleaning of the ulcer, bandaging or compression therapy, and topical prescription medications. Some of the most common topical treatments include saline solutions, growth factors, and bioengineered skin grafts.
If you or a loved one has a diabetic ulcer, schedule an appointment at Wound Evolution - Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine. Call or book online today.