Long ago, knights wore suits of armor to protect their bodies. Nowadays, we walk around with a protective suit as well—our birthday suit! Our skin provides us with a layer of protection between our bodies and outside forces that can damage it, like infection and extreme temperatures. When a wound damages this barrier, it leaves us open to a host of problems. This is especially true if you suffer from diabetes. Because of sensory loss and poor blood circulation associated with the disease, you might not feel a wound on your foot or heel, and you may have difficulty healing. This is a recipe for disaster. That’s why wound care treatment is so important.
A Look at Layers
There are two layers of skin covering our bodies. The epidermis is the outermost layer that we see. It is our first line of defense against infections, ultraviolet rays, and severe hot and cold. The dermis is the deeper layer below that supports the epidermis and provides additional resistance to injury. Wounds can range from superficial abrasions of the epidermis to deep punctures that penetrate through the dermis. No matter the size, though, care must be taken to prevent complications and preserve function.
The Danger of Diabetic Wounds
Those who have diabetes often suffer from neuropathy, or nerve damage. As a result, even something as small as a blister can become a serious problem. If your shoes are too tight and causing friction, or you accidently step on something sharp that cuts you, loss of sensation can allow the wound to go unnoticed and a dangerous infection can set in without your knowledge. In addition, poor circulation and a weakened immune system inhibits the healing process, making the situation even worse. The longer the wound goes unnoticed, the greater the possibility of serious complications occurring, including amputation. Therefore, it is vital that wound care treatment begins as soon as possible.
Wound Care Management
You may not be able to feel the pain, but you can see the signs. Be sure to check your feet daily for any blisters, calluses, cuts, or sores that don’t seem to be healing. Look for swelling, blood, or temperature change in the skin as well. If you do spot something wrong, call and make an appointment at Carolina Podiatry Group, Inc. right away. If the wound is small, clean it with warm water, pat dry, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover with a bandage to protect it until we can take a look.
We will examine the ulcer and remove any foreign particles, as well as check for additional injuries. Following this, your wound will be cleaned and treated with antibiotics. If it is deep, it may require sutures to close it. Your foot will then be bandaged and you will need to keep weight off of it while you heal. Regular visits will be necessary to ensure treatment is successful.
Warding Off Wounds
There are some precautions you can take to keep wounds from happening in the first place. Make sure that the skin on your feet is moisturized to prevent cracking. Avoid applying lotion between the toes, however, as this is a favorite place for fungi to gather, and that could lead to infection as well. Wear socks and shoes made of breathable materials, and be sure that your shoes fit properly to reduce friction. Also, it’s a good idea to inspect your shoes before putting them on to safeguard against any stray objects, like pebbles, or tears in the fabric, which could damage your skin. Always keep your feet clean and dry, and nails trimmed. Lastly, manage your disease. Controlled blood sugar and weight can do wonders for preventing wounds. Maintaining a proper diet and exercise routine, as well as not smoking, will help you and your feet stay healthy.
If you have any questions about wound care treatment, or are concerned about an ulcer on your foot, please don’t hesitate to call us. Contact Brandon Percival, DPM, Julie Percival, DPM, or William Harris IV, DPM of Carolina Podiatry Group, Inc. in SC by dialing (803) 285-1411 in Lancaster or (803) 548-FEET in Indian Land.