Diabetic foot ulcers have potential to occur in 15% of diabetic patients at one point in their lives. During its development the risk of lower extremity amputation increases 8-fold. Type 1 and in type 2 diabetes is usually the host for this type of occurrence.
What Causes a Diabetic Foot Ulcer?
Patients unfamiliar with potential diabetic complications wonder what exactly causes a diabetic foot ulcer. A diabetic foot ulcer results from neuropathic (nerve) and vascular (blood vessel) complications, which diabetic patients are susceptible to. Diabetes causes nerve damage due to the partial or complete loss of sensation in the foot and/or leg, which is known as peripheral neuropathy. This condition is worsened by pressure from shoes, bruises, cuts or any injury because they most likely go unnoticed. Patients tend to not feel anything in their feet and this keeps them unaware of any injuries that they sustain. The protective sensation being completely absent makes injuries susceptible to deterioration. This results in skin loss, blisters and ulcers.
Similarly, vascular disease is a significant problem that primarily affects very small blood vessels responsible for feeding the skin (known as microangiopathy). In this condition, the doctor can find normal pulses in the feet, as the arteries remain unaffected but for other diabetic patients, the arteries become narrowed down, inhibiting the proper flow of blood. The pulse rate is significantly lower in their feet. With little to no healthy blood flowing in the area, it can lead to ulceration. This also impairs the natural function of wound healing. Smoking further aggravates this condition.
The Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Foot Ulcer
According to diabetic foot care Sarasota Fl, patients who’ve had diabetic foot often present their situation to the doctor way later because they are mostly painless. A diabetic foot is rated between 0 to 3 depending on its severity. The following information guides you towards what symptoms to expect with each level:
At 0, the foot indicates a risk for diabetic foot but without an ulceration
At 1, the foot experiences ulceration that is minor with no infection
At 2, the foot develops deep ulceration that exposes the tendons and joints
At 3, the foot develops extensive ulceration with abscesses
Due to a poor or lack of blood supply, the tissue in the surrounding area of the ulcer becomes black. When this condition reaches severity, partial or complete gangrene is likely to occur.
How to Manage a Diabetic Foot Ulcer?
When you speak of managing a foot ulcer you’re implying an effective way to prevent it. You could do so by following the following strategies:
Improve diabetes control so that you can reduce complications from neuropathic and vascular conditions.
Quit smoking as it aggravates the condition.
Wear custom footwear that are made to measure insoles.
Take good care of your feet and trim nails regularly.
If you develop athlete’s foot, cracked heel or dermatitis, promptly treat them.
Go for regular and frequent foot examination.
Once if you’ve been diagnosed with an ulcer your doctor will determine whether it is neuropathic or vascular, or both.
If it’s a neuropathic ulcer, it must be protected from further injuries and strenuous efforts should be put into healing it.
If it’s a vascular ulcer, a vascular surgeon should be consulted for evaluation, as only he can determine the extent of damage. He’ll also notify you if surgery is needed. In severe cases amputation may be necessary.
Diabetic foot ulcers are highly preventive if taken care of on time. Therefore, it is important to know which professionals to consult and how far in advance you should start with preventive visits and treatments.