What is a diabetic foot ulcer?
When diabetes becomes more complicated, foot ulcers can emerge. It refers to a type of skin sore that involves the loss of skin or dermis as a result of a neuropathic dilemma. This condition is what diabetic individuals experience when the necessary medical treatment is not administered.
In terms of the types of diabetes, those who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are those who commonly deal with a foot ulcer. This condition happens when the skin tissues break down. It doesn’t just affect the skin surface but also the bones.
One of the major complications that foot ulcer can induce is amputation. That is why diabetic individuals are advised to always wear socks to prevent their foot from getting infected. Since wound-healing can take a few weeks for diabetics, protecting their skin is one way to remain safe and healthy. This approach also reduces someone’s risk of acquiring foot ulcers, thereby, preventing amputations and other diabetes-induced illnesses.
Diabetic foot ulcer stages
When you are diagnosed with diabetes, you will need to know the 5 stages of having a foot ulcer. Each stage has been classified based on how an ulcer develops on one foot. In knowing these stages, you can inhibit the appearance of a single ulcer and prevent any form of infection involving your foot. Consider the following:
- 1st stage – This stage is known as a normal foot. During this stage and amidst diabetes diagnosis, you are advised to keep your feet healthy by wearing comfortable footwear. This is also the stage where the infection can be prevented.
- 2nd stage – During this stage, ulceration has already been observed in one foot.
- 3rd stage – In this stage, ulcers have already emerged, not just swelling or cuts. Medical measures such as dressing the wound or ulcer are necessary.
- 4th stage – This stage is where infection already occurs. Antibacterial therapy may already be needed.
- 5th stage – During this stage, medical measures such as intravenous therapy and removal of damaged tissue are required.
Aggressive treatment or management of foot ulcers is required if these foot ulcers complicate. This therapy will also help in preventing the infection from progressing.
Correlative to other infections, a foot ulcer also features different symptoms and diagnoses. Some of this condition’s signs of illnesses are similar to what people often experience in having a skin disease. Consider the following list of symptoms of foot ulcers.
- The development of small drainage in the foot (sometimes stains the socks)
- The development of an ulcer (from small to big size)
- The appearance of a black tissue known as eschar
- Pain in the foot
- Tingling or numbness
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, and you happen to experience the listed symptoms, report them to your healthcare professional immediately. A formidable pain in the foot may already be a sign of ongoing infection. Obtain the necessary medical treatment or prevention immediately.
One of the major causes of this condition is the improper administration of diabetes treatment. This occurs when diabetes complicates, and the blood sugar levels of the body drastically increase or what is popularly known as hyperglycemia.
Other than that, when there is nerve damage, it will cause inflammation or swelling on one foot, leading to a foot ulcer. Another reason for this condition is poor blood circulation, especially the flow of blood into the feet. This phenomenon can reduce someone’s healing time and makes it more difficult to recover.
Those who are receiving treatment for diabetes, especially insulin injections, must not consume or abuse alcohol and tobacco. Failing to follow this advice will only increase their risk of having foot ulcers. Furthermore, staying healthy is only the best option to avoid having diabetes-induced complications.
Risk factors and complications
Since foot ulcer is linked significantly with diabetes, it also involves different health complications and risk factors. Take note of these complications and understand how you can better manage diabetes and foot ulcers. Consider the following:
- Wound or cut infection
Apart from these complications, the most known result of foot ulcers (if no proper treatment is given) is amputation. To avoid the condition from progressing and infect more parts of the body, amputating the infected part of the foot may be necessary. This is what diabetic individuals suffer if they do not adhere to their treatment.
Meanwhile, here is also the list of risk factors associated with foot ulcers for individuals with diabetes:
- Kidney and heart disease
- Eye infection
- Alcohol abuse
- Practicing poor hygiene
- Overweight or obesity
- Usage of cigarette or tobacco
- Improper diabetes treatment
Treatment and Prevention
Treatment for foot ulcers may involve the usage or consumption of antibiotics on a daily basis. These antibiotics will help those with foot ulcers to prevent the progression of infection within the body. Other than that, the healthcare professional will also likely advise the patient to avoid putting too much pressure on their foot, as it will only make the condition worse.
Meanwhile, in preventing foot ulcers from occurring, there are factors that the patient must follow. These factors include washing their feet regularly, using clean socks, keeping their feet moisturized and not saggy, and trimming their toenails to avoid further infections. Do these and you will prevent foot ulcers and not have to experience severe health complications.