Ulcers

One of the last things we want to see for any of our patients is a limb lost on account of a condition that could have been prevented in the first place. When not discovered and treated early, ulcers and foot sores can become serious medical risks for individuals who live with diabetes.

Being able to understand the potential consequences of diabetic foot ulcers, and then learning signs, symptoms, and preventative measures, will help you know when it is time to come see us here at Houston Foot Specialists so we can keep you safe.

Foot Ulcers

The skin on the foot, especially on the bottom (plantar) surface, can be subjected to excessive pressure and become callused when bearing increased pressure from prominent metatarsal heads. When faced with shearing forces, a separation develops between the layers of this callused skin, which then fills with fluid and can become contaminated and infected. These ulcers are open sores or wounds that keep returning or do not heal properly. In many cases, they are slow to heal.

Foot ulcers become a particularly concerning situation for diabetic individuals. Neuropathy (nerve damage) is a condition frequently accompanying the disease. In many cases, it results in loss of physical sensation in the lower limbs, thereby leaving an affected individual unaware of ulcers and their risk of infection.

These sores often develop on pressure points—heel, ball of foot—and have variable coloration. A sore might be pink, red, brown, or black, depending on the circumstances. Besides pressure points, ulcers potentially develop at any location sustaining damage, which is important to know if you sustain an injury to a foot.

Calluses and Blisters

For otherwise healthy individuals, calluses are not typically a major concern. These patches of dead, hardened skin develop on account of persistent pressure or friction on the skin. For individuals who have diabetes, though, it is important to know a callus can be a precursor to a foot ulcer.

The same basically applies to blisters. A blister might be not much more than an annoyance for a non-diabetic individual, but the fluid-filled bubbles can possibly lead to a dangerous infection when they burst and are not treated with the proper care.

Treating Foot Ulcers

The key to effectively treating diabetic foot ulcers is timeliness. What might seem like a “minor” cut or injury should definitely be treated immediately when diabetes is in the picture. As soon as a cut or other abnormality is observed—perhaps in a daily diabetic foot check, but even better when noticed at the time of the incident—apply a triple antibiotic cream to the area and then cover it with a light gauze.

Keep pressure off the affected area and then call us to request the earliest possible appointment at our Houston, TX foot doctor office. We may need to apply a contact cast to relieve pressure from prominent bony areas, thereby allowing the ulcer to heal.

Ulcer Prevention

The best practices for reducing the risk of a foot ulcer and preventing a dangerous situation include:

  • Perform a daily foot inspection. Every night, before going to bed, inspect both of your feet visually and by touch to check for anything out of the ordinary. Use a mirror or enlist the help of a loved one to check the bottoms of your feet. If anything is unusual, call us and request the earliest possible appointment.
  • Keep your feet dry... Excessive moisture can cause skin to break down, which increases infection risk. Keeping it dry will lower the risk of developing an ulcer.
  • …But not too dry. At the same time, overly dry skin causes cracks and fissures, which also increase infection risk. After bathing or showering, apply a moisturizer to the tops and bottoms of your feet (while avoiding the areas between your toes).
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Avoid tight shoes that have pointy toes and high heels. Instead, wear comfortable styles with room for your toes to wiggle.

If you live with diabetes, part of successfully managing your health is forming a trusting partnership with a caring, expert podiatrist, like our Dr. Aleisha Allen. Contact Houston Foot Specialists for more information on how to prevent ulcers and foot sores, or to schedule an appointment to receive the effective treatment you need. Call us at (713) 467-8886 or use our online form today to connect with our friendly staff and we will be glad to help!