Diabetics with neuropathy are most likely to get foot ulcers and pressure sores. These ulcers might get infected, which would require amputation. However, there are several ways these wounds can be managed.
What are Diabetic Foot and Pressure Sores?
Diabetic foot is also known as foot ulcer and pressure sore. You are more likely to get it when you have an increased blood sugar level. Ulcers are formed due to skin tissue breaking down and exposing the layers inside. They are most common under the big toes and the balls of your foot. If the condition worsens, it might affect the bones underneath your feet. People with diabetes can develop foot ulcers. However, good foot care and managing your diabetes can help you reduce the risks of foot ulcers.
What are the Signs of Foot Ulcers?
One of the most prominent signs of foot ulcers is drainage, which might ruin your socks and shoes. In addition, the area of the foot ulcer will have unusual swelling, irritation, redness, and odour. Another visible sign of foot ulcer and pressure sores is the formation of black skin around the infected area. This develops due to the absence of healthy blood flow to the area around the sores.
Usually, the signs of ulcers are not obvious at the initial stage. However, you might feel pain once it worsens, and pus will ooze out. When you see the first symptom, you must rush to the doctor. If not treated on time, this will infect the bones and lead to amputation.
Wound Management Due to Pressure Sore, Diabetic Foot at Apollo Hospitals, Karnataka
There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments available for foot and toe ulcers. If the sore or ulcers are at the initial stage, they can be treated at home without surgery. However, if your foot ulcers have caught the infection, you must go to a doctor for better treatment. Also, while managing your diabetic foot ulcer wound, it is always important to focus on the cause of the wound.
The goal of wound management for foot ulcers is to heal and relieve pain. At Apollo Hospitals, Karnataka, we manage and care for your infectious wounds professionally and effectively. Below are the procedures followed by us –
Before the Procedure
When you visit the doctor, they will identify the ulcer on a scale of 0 to 5 using the Wagner Ulcer Classification System –
- 0 – no open lesions or the lesions might have been cured.
- 1 – superficial ulcer without penetration deep into the skin
- 2 – deeper ulcer that reaches tendons, bones, or joint capsules
- 3 – involves deeper tissues such as abscess, osteomyelitis, or tendonitis.
- 4 – minor gangrene has developed in a part of the foot.
- 5 – severe necrosis developed in the foot.
Once the ulcer is identified, our doctors work on finding the cause. Usually, ulcers are caused due to –
- Poor blood circulation
- High blood sugar or hyperglycaemia
- Nerve damage
- Wounded or irritated feet
Once the causes and type of foot ulcer have been determined, the doctor will suggest the required treatments. If the lesions are small or the ulcer has not yet penetrated the skin, the doctors usually opt for a non-surgical approach. They might give you certain medications such as antiplatelet, antibiotics, etc. In addition, they will ask you to wear compression clothes. Also, the treatment includes prosthetics, orthotics, and removing the pressure from the area by wearing a case of braces.
However, in the case of chronic foot ulcers, the doctor might recommend surgical procedures. There are three types of surgeries for diabetic foot ulcers –
- Achilles Tendon Lengthening
- Vascular Surgery
During the Procedure
Diabetic foot ulcer surgery is performed in several depending on the severity of the conditions. However, for diabetic foot ulcers, debridement is one of the common practices that doctors opt for. During the procedure, the doctor cleans the area with skin disinfectants and then makes an incision with a scalpel. This removes the tissue from within and around the infected wounds. Once the tissue is removed, the skin is cleaned and covered to prevent further infections.
After the Procedure
After the procedure, you will be sent home, and the doctor will prescribe you certain medication to ease pain and inflammation. Also, our doctors at Apollo Hospitals, Karnataka, will advise you on how to take care of your feet so that the ulcer does not develop again. You must also see your diabetes doctor and tell them about your condition. They will prescribe you insulin and other ways to control your diabetes.
The recovery takes around three months, and you must follow up with the doctor to ensure the healing process is on track. You must wear shoes prescribed by the doctor to reduce the pressure on the wounds. During the initial weeks, you will be advised not to put pressure on any weight on your foot. Avoid unnecessary physical labour, and rest as much as possible. It is important you do not move around too much in your house or outside to avoid accidents.
Complications and Risks
Risks and complications can include the following –
- Bleeding (wound hematoma)
If you experience any such conditions after the diabetic foot ulcer surgery, contact your medical healthcare provider immediately.
Who is Not Eligible?
If you have a foot wound due to diabetes and cannot control your blood sugar, the doctor might not recommend you to undergo any surgery. However, before the surgery, you will be required to keep your hyperglycaemia in check, and once it is stabilised, the doctors may perform the surgery.
Treatment at Apollo Hospitals, Karnataka
It is very important to take urgent care of your wound. This is because if left untreated, it might destroy the tissue and the bones underneath, leading to amputation of your feet. At Apollo Hospitals, Karnataka, our team of experienced doctors and medical staff are dedicated to providing you with the best possible care and treatment, ensuring that you leave our hospital feeling healthy and satisfied with our services.