Foot ulcers are very common problems in people who have diabetes. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), about 15% of people with diabetes experience foot ulcers.
Foot ulcers can be extremely serious in people with diabetes because you may not notice them until the condition is quite advanced. If foot ulcers are left untreated, they can even result in getting your feet amputated. Dr. Kerry E. Berg, DPM of Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates offers this guide to how you can tell if you have a diabetic foot ulcer.
People who have diabetes are more likely to have problems with their feet for several reasons. One reason is that you often can’t feel your feet due to diabetic neuropathy. This condition results from prolonged high blood sugar levels.
You need to frequently examine your feet when you have diabetes. You can have common symptoms that wouldn’t ordinarily be cause for concern, such as dry skin on your feet, which may indicate a greater concern. Dry skin and blisters may indicate that you have more serious concerns underneath.
If you have a diabetic foot ulcer that’s developing, there are some warning signs to note. Some of these warning signs include:
When you have a diabetic foot ulcer, you’re at greater risk of infections, too, including cellulitis, osteomyelitis (an infection of the bone), and infected foot ulcers.
Diabetes puts you at greater risk of foot ulcers, especially if your blood glucose is not well-controlled. Other risk factors for foot ulcers include the following:
Preventing foot ulcers is important, so the best thing you can do is to make regular appointments with a podiatrist. With regular appointments, Dr. Berg can assess the condition of your feet in hopes of preventing problems from becoming advanced. In that respect, you should definitely consider Dr. Berg to be a very important member of your healthcare team.
The most important thing to do when you have a foot ulcer starting to develop is to let us start debridement. The debridement process involves removing thickened skin, especially that which is infected or non-viable. There’s also often foreign debris in the wound as well, which we remove.
We usually also provide antibiotics to prevent further infection. We may also provide solutions to off-load the pressure on your foot, suçh as wearing a brace or special foot gear, using crutches, or a wheelchair.
We may also use products designed to heal the ulcer, such as growth factors, saline, skin substitutes, or ulcer dressings.
Most people can expect their foot ulcer to heal within a few weeks to a few months.
If you have diabetes and need to have your feet examined, Dr. Kerry E. Berg at Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates can help. Contact her office today or request an appointment online.