One of the main complications of diabetes is the development of diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetic foot ulcers occur in 15% of all patients with diabetes. There are four primary contributing factors to the developments of these ulcers.
- The presence of peripheral neuropathy (loss of feeling over the toes);
- Changes in the architecture (shape) of the foot causing it to have pressure on areas ot built for it;
- Poor blood flow to the foot;
- A decreased ability to fight infection in the foot.
The main reason why diabetic wounds do not heal is due to lack of blood flow to the ulcer and ongoing pressure to the wound
Diabetics must pay special attention to their feet and ankles and it is vitally important to NOT ignore a small wound when it develops. Diabetic wounds, when left untreated, are the cause of 85% of the amputations that occur in these patients. Once these ulcers develop, they often DO NOT HEAL just by putting a Band-Aid over them, or even with wound care and ointments prescribed by your primary care doctor.
Care of Diabetic Foot Wounds
It is very important to see both a podiatrist (foot specialist) and a vascular surgeon (blood flow specialist) to examine your foot. These doctors can help with special treatments such as debridement (cleaning the wound), off-loading (taking pressure of the wound) and improvement of blood flow to help your wound heal. Debridement helps remove dead tissue and bacteria from the wound. Off-loading and special inserts or shoes allow the pressure to be removed from the wound so that it can heal. Diabetes causes blockages with calcium deposits inside your small blood vessels, which are below the knee, and this prevents oxygen and nutrients from getting to your feet. The vascular surgeons at South Bay Vascular Center have a special interest and expertise in opening these blood vessels in order to bring flow to your toes and feet that can help save patients from amputation. If you or anyone you know suffers from diabetes and are experiencing foot wounds that do not heal, call us immediately at 408-376-3626 to schedule an appointment to have these wounds evaluated.