What Is Diabetic Foot Ulcer? Its Causes, Prevention And Treatment

People having diabetes for long time face great risk of developing foot ulcers. Foot ulcer is one of the major complications of diabetes mellitus. Fifteen percent of diabetic patients get affected with foot ulcers. Eighty four percent cases of leg amputation have history of foot ulcers due to diabetes. Diabetic patients must try to prevent injury to foot by following simple preventive measures.

Ulcer is a lesion where skin breaks down and underlying tissue is visible. This can occur due to improper healing of the wound due to high blood sugar level.

Even small injury can prove dangerous if not treated promptly.

What Causes Foot Ulcers In Diabetics?

  • Peripheral neuropathy: Long standing uncontrolled diabetes may damage peripheral nerves resulting in reduced sensation in affected lower limb. Due to reduced sensation of pain patient may not notice small wounds. Even if he notices, he may not act upon it as he does not have pain. Hence same wound remains exposed to germs and can get infected and due to slow rate of healing ulcer may develop.
  • Atherosclerosis: Diabetic patients are likely to have atherosclerosis in lower extremities. Atherosclerosis occurs due to fatty deposits on the walls of blood vessels resulting in narrowing of blood vessels. This results in poor blood supply and poor oxygen supply to lower extremities. Due to this wounds may not heal properly leading to ulcer formation.
  • Other risk factors are patient suffering from kidney or eye complication due to diabetes or patients with past history of foot ulcers are more prone to develop foot ulcers.

Diabetic Foot Ulcer Symptoms

Usually patient gives history of long standing diabetes. History of minor injury to foot which has not healed will be present.

Walking may become difficult. With secondary infection, patient may have fever. Ulcer with unhealthy granulation tissue can be seen on affected foot.

Prevention And Treatment Of Diabetic Foot Ulcer

  • Treatment consists of course of antibiotics, proper bandage, debridement and arterial revascularisation. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves healing and reduces the risk of amputation.
  • Keep diabetes under control with proper medication under expert guidance. Check your blood sugar level periodically.
  • Examine your feet every day and look for any cuts or bruises. If bending is difficult, ask someone else to examine your feet. If you notice any minor injury, visit your doctor and treat it promptly.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry to avoid any fungal infection. Clean the spaces between the toes thoroughly.
  • Avoid wearing open footwear. Avoid wearing tight fitting shoes. Wear well fitting sport shoes to protect your feet from getting injured.
  • Apply moisturizing lotion to the areas which are dry to prevent cracking of the skin due to dryness. Do not apply moisturizer in the spaces between toes as moisture may make the skin susceptible to infection.
  • If you develop warts or calluses, do not treat them yourself. Consult an expert to deal with foot problems.
  • A glass of bitter gourd juice will help to keep diabetes under control.
  • Do not walk barefoot even at home and always wear socks with shoes.
  • While buying the shoes look for the broad fronts so that your toes do not get squeezed in the shoes. Toes should remain in comfortable position in the shoes.

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