Diabetic Wound Care

Diabetes is an extremely serious disease which elevates your risk for medical complications and emergencies. And all it takes to start the proverbial snowball rolling down the hill is an unnoticed and unaddressed problem—even a tiny one.

As this snowball gains momentum, it becomes much harder to stop and will eventually reach a point where it runs you over and leaves you absolutely crushed under its weight.

The last thing we want is for you to end up in a situation wherein a diabetic wound—which can become a dangerous diabetic foot ulcer over time—puts you in a critical situation. Fortunately, knowing why ulcers develop, how they can affect your health, and what you can do about them will go a long way towards keeping you safe!

You can learn more about diabetic foot care here.

What are diabetic wounds?

To answer this question, let’s start with the simple fact that diabetes affects the entire body.

That probably makes sense. After all:

Diabetes is marked by high glucose (sugar) levels in the blood stream, and every part of your body relies on blood for health and vitality.

Since it is so far-reaching, the disease compromises your organs and body systems, including damaging your nerves, decreasing vascular supply, and neutralizing the effectiveness of your immune system’s white blood cells.

We start with noting all of that because those issues lay the groundwork for dangerous situations.

In just a moment, we’ll explore how this all becomes such a major problem, but let’s begin by highlighting a couple of systemic concerns:

  • Diabetic neuropathy takes away your ability to be aware of cuts, scrapes, and other such issues.
  • A weakened blood flow and neutralized white blood cells prevent your body from healing in a normal manner and being able to fight off potential infections.
  • Elevated blood sugar levels have a negative effect on collagen production—which is essential for both providing strength to skin and allowing wounds to heal. (For this reason, pressure points are a common cause of diabetic foot ulcers.)

Taking all of that into consideration, any kind of wound—which can mean cuts, scrapes, blisters, ingrown toenails, and anything out of the ordinary (whether from internal or external origin)—can continue to exist and worsen over time.

See, if your nerves function as intended and you have normal sensation, you are able to feel those kinds of problems. When you do, you’re quite likely to provide some kind of care to resolve the issue and prevent bigger problems from developing (such as by using antibiotic ointment on a cut, for example).

If diabetic neuropathy takes away your ability to recognize problems when they develop, such issues can easily go untreated—and this is a highly concerning situation.

Want more information on nerve damage? This page will help!

A key concern with untreated wounds is that they keep the door open for microorganisms to enter your body. This happens because your body simply doesn’t have the resources necessary for healing the wounds (on account of restricted blood flow and a compromised immune system), and they become completely dormant somewhere between 2-4 weeks.

To put it another way, the body has essentially given up at this point.

How can you prevent problems from diabetic wounds?

Diabetic foot ulcers are the most challenging wounds to treat on account of complications.

Constant wound management is essential for any chance to save the limb—and possibly even your life.

See, we view diabetic wounds the same way you might view cancer.

Did you know skin cancer can affect your feet?

Actually, we probably view them even more seriously:

The mortality rate for diabetic foot ulcers is actually worse than the mortality rates for breast, colon, and prostate cancers.

Clearly, prevention is the preferred course when it comes to these wounds, and this starts with early detection.

Basically, if you’re able to catch a problem at the earliest possible stage, it constitutes your best chance to avoid a major medical emergency. Of course, as we’ve noted, you might not have physical sensation due to neuropathy, but here’s the thing:

Just because you don’t feel pain doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem.

And since neuropathy can take away your ability to feel problems, you have find them by using your eyes—and especially by visually inspecting your feet on daily basis. In doing so, you can potentially catch issues early and address them before that aforementioned snowball’s halfway down the hill.

Now, as with everything in life, you have a choice. Sure, you can certainly choose not to check your feet every day, but that means you’ll likely end up without having feet to check!

If you are being responsible and inspecting your feet on a daily basis, you really want to be on the lookout for any redness, swelling, or draining. Those are all signs of infection.

(Infections can be bad enough for otherwise healthy individuals, but when diabetes is in the picture, an infection is downright dangerous.)

Can diabetic wounds be treated?

Depending on the stage of your diabetic wound, treatment options can include:

  • Diabetic shoes
  • Diabetic inserts
  • Collagen supplementation
  • Biological treatments
  • An appointment with an endovascular surgeon

Diabetic shoes may help by offloading pressure from specific regions of the feet.

Diabetic inserts can also be used to do the same thing. These are similar to—but different from—other orthotics we prescribe. In this case, the inserts are accommodative and offer greater protection for the feet.

A topical collagen supplement may be used to help strengthen skin and protect a wound from worsening. Collagen supplements have actually been used in the cosmetic industry for decades, so they have an established track record of being safe.

Due to diabetes, your body doesn’t provide enough blood to heal wounds. This can be attributed to the reduced blood supply caused by the disease. There can be some hope on this front, though. Endovascular surgeons may be able to open up blood vessels to improve circulation. These medical specialists save limbs, which saves lives!

If your own health, or the concern of loved ones, isn’t enough motivation for you to care for diabetic issues, perhaps you want to consider the cost. When early treatment is not administered, we often have to use biological options, which are quite expensive. For example, an amniotic-based graft will set you back $3000 every two weeks.

with early detection, early treatment is key!

At the end of the day, remember this:

High blood sugar levels might feel good, but it can do some really bad things to your body.

You simply must manage your diabetes to keep your feet safe, and potentially even save your life. The importance of diabetic foot care cannot be overstated, so come see us. We can help you create a plan centered on prevention and catching problems early.

For more information, call us today at (317) 545-0505 and request an appointment. We will be glad to help!

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9505 E. 59th St., Suite A
Indianapolis, IN 46216

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