In the United States, over 30 million people have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unless these diabetes sufferers are managing their disease – and in some cases, even if they are – there’s a very good chance that one day they’ll be faced with having an ulcer.
What’s a diabetic ulcer?
A diabetic ulcer is a wound on the foot – often on the plantar surface, meaning the underside of the foot or toes – that isn’t healing. Diabetic ulcers are very common, especially for those with neuropathy, or lack of feeling in their lower limbs due to nerve damage, or narrowed blood vessels.
When you have neuropathy, you’ve lost the ability to feel anything that’s happened to your feet. When blood vessels are narrow, healing blood doesn’t flow efficiently to a wound. So if a diabetic sustains even a small cut, it can quickly worsen and become a non-healing ulcer. Ulcers are often to blame for the limb amputations that we hear about so often among the diabetic population.
So, taking concrete steps to prevent diabetic ulcers also means taking steps to avoid unnecessary lower limb amputations. Let’s take a look at those concrete steps:
- Perform a daily foot exam. Diabetics must take very seriously their doctor’s mandate to examine their feet each and every day. Look for any swelling, cuts, bruises, or discoloration and report any changes immediately to Heidi M. Christie or Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists.
- Protect your feet at all times. Wear the proper shoes. If you live in the Tri-county area, you should know that Montgomery Foot Care Specialists is one of only two podiatry offices in the area that offers a diabetic shoe program. For the best protection and support, come to us for a fitting to the right diabetic shoe for you.
- Maintain good circulation by not smoking, eating healthy foods, and avoiding socks that are too tight.
- Never, ever perform “bathroom surgery.” Got corns, calluses, or ingrown toenails? Don’t risk an ulcer by attempting to cut, trim, or repair them yourself. We provide a safe, medically-supervised environment in which to treat your high-risk feet.
- Visit our office regularly. The risk of getting a diabetic ulcer is significant. Minimize it with regular foot exams with our experienced podiatrists. Make an appointment with us online or give us a call in Montgomery, AL at (334) 396-3668.