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.
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
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.
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
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!