A diabetic ulcer is an open sore or wound in the foot that occurs in approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes. This is the leading cause of non traumatic lower extremity amputations in the United States.
Anyone who has diabetes can develop a foot ulcer. People who have kidney, eye, and heart disease or are overweight and use alcohol and tobacco are at high risk of developing foot ulcers. Ulcers form due to a combination of factors, such as lack of feeling in the foot (neuropathy), poor circulation, foot deformities, irritation from shoes and trauma.
The primary goal in diabetic ulcer treatment is to obtain healing as soon as possible. The faster the healing, the less chance there is for an infection. The key factors in the treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer are prevention of infection, taking the pressure off the area, called off-loading; removing dead skin and tissue, called debridement; applying medication or dressings to the ulcer and managing blood glucose and other health-related problems.
To properly off-load the ulcer site the wound care specialists at Livingston Foot Care offer Diabetic shoes, custom bracings and specialized castings. Appropriate wound healing also includes the use of dressings and topical medications. We offer a full range of advanced products such as growth factors and wound stimulants, specialized ulcer dressings, skin substitutes, and negative pressure therapy (hyperbaric oxygen therapy)that have been shown to be highly effective in healing diabetic ulcers. However, when this fails, surgical management may be appropriate. Shaving or excision of bones) and correction of various deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, or various bony prominences might be necessary.
Most importantly, for a wound to heal there must be adequate circulation to the ulcerated area. Our podiatrists can determine circulation levels with noninvasive vascular tests.
If you suffer from diabetes, you should have regular podiatric evaluations to prevent the formation of ulcers. If you suffer from open wounds on your feet, call Livingston Foot Care specialists where our specially trained wound care foot specialists are available to help you.