Having diabetes is indeed a challenge. It takes a surmount of strength, patience, and discipline to be able to create a positive and healthy quality of life when living with such a condition. And it doesn’t really help that diabetes not just brings itself to the table, but it comes along with other issues, problems, and complications, such as having diabetic foot ulcers.
It is pretty common for diabetic patients to encounter diabetic foot ulcers. This happens when they experience high blood sugar or if they start going through diabetic neuropathy, wherein they feel numb in some areas of their bodies, most often their feet, due to nerve damage. From there, it will be hard for them to notice any wounds, blisters, sores, or lesions in their feet, and when left unnoticed and untreated, those open skin damages will become infected. And the worst-case scenario is that they will need to go through an amputation to treat it completely.
What Are The Signs Of Diabetic Foot Ulcer
Here are some signs to look out for so that you can stay on top of the Diabetic Foot Ulcer. It is important that once you notice any of these signs that you don’t let it go untreated or go treating it yourself. Be sure to go to your doctors and health professionals as early as possible so that they can provide you with proper care instructions.
- Darkened skin on the affected area
- Diminished ability to sense hot or cold
- Loss of hair in the area
- Any changes to the skin or toenails, including cuts, blisters, calluses, or sores
- Discharge of fluid or pus
- Foul Smell
Don’t force your feet to prevent pain and to relieve the pressure from ulcers. This is called “offloading,” and it’s helpful for all types of diabetic foot ulcers. Pressure from walking or standing can make an infection worse and cause more damage, and this would cause the ulcer to expand. Doctors can remove foot ulcers with the removal of damaged tissues, dead skin, or foreign objects that may have caused the ulcer.
Your doctor or health professional may recommend wearing certain items to protect your feet:
- Diabetic Shoes
- Diabetic Socks
- Foot braces
- Compression wraps
- Shoe inserts to prevent corns and calluses
Infections are a serious complication of foot ulcers, and it requires immediate treatment and not all infections are treated the same way, so it is best to seek professional help in the early stages and if you have experienced symptoms of diabetes. Tissue that is surrounding the ulcer may be sent to a lab to determine which antibiotic should be recommended and used. They will check what the best antibiotic that will help your infection is. For really serious infections, your doctor or health professional might order an x-ray so that they can check if the infections have reached your bones.
Infection of a foot ulcer can be prevented with the following:
- Disinfecting the skin around the ulcer, keeping your skin clean to keep it away from unwanted bacterias that can cause more damage.
- Footbaths, cleaning your foot thoroughly can help prevent it from getting grimy.
- Keep the ulcer dry with frequent dressing changes.
- For enzyme treatments, you should ask your doctor for what is the best treatment that can be used for your infection.
- Dressings containing calcium alginates inhibit bacterial growth.
Your doctor may prescribe medications like antibiotics, antiplatelets, or anti-clotting medications to treat your feet wounds, sores, any open skin damages if the infection progresses even after preventive or anti-pressure treatments. This will depend on the infection that you have. Many of these antibiotics attack Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria known to cause staph infections or B-haemolytic Streptococcus that is normally found in your intestines. Talk with your doctor and health professionals about other health conditions you have that might increase your risk of infections that are caused by these harmful bacterias, including HIV and liver problems.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you seek surgical help for your ulcers. A surgeon can help reduce pressure around your ulcer by shaving down the bone or removing foot abnormalities such as bunions or hammertoes. If you have an ulcer, you will not likely have surgery, but if there is no other treatment option that can help your ulcer heal, surgery can prevent your ulcer from becoming worse or leading to amputation.
Here are some tips on how you can prevent foot problems.
- Washing and keeping your feet clean every day
- Keeping toenails properly trimmed but not too short
- Keeping your feet dry and moisturized
- Changing your socks frequently
- Seeing a podiatrist for corn and callus removal
- Wearing proper-fitting shoes
Properly manage your blood sugar and always check your blood sugar level because the chances of having diabetes complications are low when your blood sugar is stable.
The Difference Between Regular Socks and Diabetic Socks
The Key to preventing infections from open wounds, sores, lesions, blisters in diabetic feet would be keeping the feet dry and making the ulcers heal quicker by not disturbing as much as possible. And also, one this that is just as important for people with diabetic feet would be proper blood circulation.
Now, here are some traits that regular socks have that may work well for people who do not have diabetes but would not work for people who have diabetes:
- Seams that may irritate the feet and the toes
- Made of Non-wicking material like cotton. It does not repel moisture
- No padding
- Heavy elastic that restricts blood flow
Compared to how most Diabetic socks are made:
- Seamless or have flat seams
- Made with non-elastic binding
- Padded soles
- Antibacterial Properties
Where To Get Diabetic Socks
You would think you have to go to a particular store to get diabetic socks. But with the rise of modern technology, you can simply “add to cart” these socks on Amazon or other online stores that specialize in diabetic socks, such as Diabetic Sock Club. You may even fill out a quiz to see which type of socks would suit you the best. But of course, you should always seek the advice of your doctors or health professionals so that they can better guide your journey in conquering your condition.
Diabetic Foot Health is very crucial, no matter how minor it may seem to the naked eye. It is essential that you stay on top of the condition of your feet and that taking the necessary steps to prevent more significant issues, such as infections, by wearing the proper footwear like diabetic socks is vital to the improvement of your quality of life.