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Patients with diabetes have an increased risk of developing foot ulcers or sores. A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that occurs in approximately 15 % of patients with diabetes and is commonly located on the bottom of the foot. Of those who develop a foot ulcer, 6 percent will be hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complication. Foot ulcers are the most common reason for hospital stays in people with diabetes and may take weeks or months to heal.
Foot ulceration precedes 85% of diabetes-related amputations, but research has shown that development of a foot ulcer is preventable. Ulcers form due to a combination of factors, such as lack of feeling in the foot, poor circulation, foot deformities, irritation (such as friction or pressure), and trauma, as well as duration of diabetes. It is important to wear shoes that put very little pressure on your foot, especially over the ulcer.
Because many people who develop foot ulcers have lost the ability to feel pain (diabetic neuropathy), pain is not a common symptom. Many times, patients may notice is some drainage in their socks. Redness and swelling may also be associated with the ulceration and, if it has progressed significantly, odor may be present.
At North Texas Foot & Ankle, our Irving podiatrists may take x-rays of your foot to make sure the bone is not infected and also clean out any dead and infected tissue. The wound may be cultured to find out which antibiotic will work best for the infection. An appropriate wound care regimen would also be established. If the ulcer is not healing and your circulation is poor, you may need to be referred to a vascular surgeon. Treatment with HBO (hyperbaric oxygen) may be indicated. Other treatments may include special shoes or boot to offload pressure of ulcer site by distributing weight. Proper glucose control is needed as high glucose levels from uncontrolled diabetes make wound healing or fighting infection difficult.
If you think a diabetic ulcer has developed on your foot, please contact North Texas Foot & Ankle in Irving, Texas at 214-574-9255 and schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists today.