Wound CareSaving Feet from Sores
The word “wound” inspires many different mental images. You might imagine war movies or hospitals with people suffering from some enormous injury. Not all wounds are big, though. Some are quite small and simply start as a blister. Not all are the result of a traumatic injury, either; most of those on the feet are related to issues with conditions like diabetes. No matter what causes it, though, you need proper wound care to prevent infections and save a foot from needing drastic care, like an amputation.
No Such Thing as a Small Sore
A wound on your foot is any sort of injury that breaks the skin. This could be as simple as a blister or as complicated as a puncture wound. No matter how big or small the initial damage, these problems are openings into the foot—putting you at risk for serious complications. This risk is especially dangerous if you have diabetes, which weakens your immune system. The small sore can—and often does—break down, becoming a diabetic foot ulcer. This ulcer festers and doesn’t improve on its own. Eventually it can become life-threatening, with infections spreading from it through the body. The right wound care, however, can save you and your foot.
Not Just from Stepping on Nails
Wounds are possible when you have neuropathy and an impaired immune system, which is why they are common with diabetes. The neuropathy makes your foot too numb to feel damage, so you don’t notice a small injury. You continue walking and the pressure worsens your sore. Because your immune system isn’t strong enough to heal the issue right away, the problem quickly turns into an ulcer. A simple blister or a cut could deteriorate this way. A hard callus could break down, too. This can happen quite rapidly if you have diabetes. This is why diabetic wound care—or any kind of wound treatment—is so important.
How to Handle Wounds
When you develop a foot ulcer of any kind, but especially if you have diabetes, you need immediate intervention. The sore is highly vulnerable to infections. Dr. Amannda Richline will examine your feet and check for problems in the ulcer. Then our team will begin your wound care so you can start the path to healing.
The sore will have to be cleaned out and off-loaded, which means no weight on that foot while it recovers. Our team will carefully clean the sore and remove any dead skin and damaged soft tissue through a process called debridement. Once your ulcer is cleaned, it will be treated for infection—either to combat one that already exists, or prevent one from taking hold. Then the sore will be bandaged to protect it. This bandage may need to be changed periodically.
Aftercare for Foot Sores
Once the sore has healed, you’ll slowly begin putting weight on that foot again. If you have diabetes, you’ll need to wear special shoes or orthotics that cushion your feet to protect them from re-injury. Your total healing time may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the extent of the damage and how well your immune system responds.
Wound care is important and should not be underestimated, especially for diabetic ulcers. It could be what keeps your foot from developing an infection or tissue death that only an amputation can solve. Don’t wait to take care of sores on the feet. If you have neuropathy and are at risk for wounds, get immediate care. Contact Pequest Foot and Ankle Specialists in Belvidere, NJ, for an appointment. You can reach our office by calling (908) 475-8750 or by using the website.