When you have diabetes, an infection can have devastating consequences, including amputation. That’s why wound care is so vitally important. Even the smallest of wounds left untreated can quickly snowball into a serious situation. It can be difficult, though, to know a wound even exists. Nerve damage in the feet often accompanies diabetes, and that means you could incur an injury and not even know it due to an inability to feel pain. This, coupled with the fact that poor blood flow (also associated with diabetes) inhibits the healing process, can result in wounds going unnoticed, easily becoming infected, and rapidly going from not-so-bad to worse. Fortunately, diabetic wound care is one of our specialties.
What Does Wound Care Involve?
When treating a diabetic wound, we will first cleanse the area and remove any dead or damaged tissue, a process called debridement. We will then determine if an infection is present and if so, get you on an antibiotic treatment program immediately. Once the wound is medicated, we will dress it with a clean and sterile bandage. You will need to take pressure off the area (known as offloading), so we may require you to wear a special boot or cast and use crutches. It is essential that you follow at-home instructions carefully — taking medication, cleaning the wound, changing your dressings, and staying off your feet. Follow-up visits are important, too, so we can ensure the healing process is moving along smoothly and make adjustments to your treatment plan if necessary.
Catching Problems Early is Key
The sooner you spot a wound, the sooner we can start treatment, and that is key to avoiding any major consequences, including those needing surgical intervention. The best way to catch problems early and get the help you need quickly is by making sure you perform a diabetic self-foot exam every day. Look for scratches, blisters, cuts – wounds of any kind. See us right away if the wound is serious. If minor, clean the wound with warm water only, apply anti-bacterial medication and a bandage. Keep a close eye on the injury and watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, or discharge. Contact us immediately if you do see these symptoms or your wound is not healing.
Prevention is Always Best
Besides daily foot checks, there are other steps you can take to help prevent wounds from progressing or even occurring in the first place. Managing your diabetes by eating right, exercising, and keeping glucose levels in check will go a long way toward preventing ulcer complications. You should always wear shoes, too, even inside your home, as you never know when you may step on something that could cause an injury! Look inside your shoes before putting them on to ensure there are no foreign objects or protruding seams that could cause your feet harm. Keep nails trimmed straight across and even with tips of toes, and never go without socks – they protect your feet from irritation. Also, make sure feet are clean and moisturize skin to avoid cracks from forming.
If you do need help with a diabetic wound or any kind of diabetic foot care, don’t hesitate to call! You can reach our Roselle Park, NJ office at (908) 687-5757, or contact our Princeton office by dialing (609) 924-8333. We’ll get you the expert diabetic wound care you need A.S.A.P.