What is a Foot Ulcer?
A foot ulcer generally refers to a break or wound in the skin that is slow to heal. Foot ulcers are classified in stages according to which of the four layers of skin are broken through. People living with diabetes are especially prone to developing ulcers.
It is vital to treat foot injuries right away.
Ulcers occur for different reasons. It is very important to determine the underlying medical problem that caused the ulcer. There are essentially four main reasons people get ulcers on the foot:
- Neuropathic: This type of ulcer occurs when a patient has loss of sensation in the feet.
- Arterial: This type of ulcer is due to poor blood flow to the lower extremities.
- Venous: This type of ulcer is due to compromised veins.
- Decubitus: This type of ulcer is caused by excessive prolonged pressure on one area of the foot.
Treatment by a Chiropodist:
Treat the infection.
Your Chiropodist will thoroughly clean the wound to remove all infected tissue. Early, aggressive wound cleaning (called “debridement”) has been shown to heal these wounds more rapidly. If there is an infection, antibiotics are prescribed. If the infection is serious, you may be hospitalized to receive intravenous antibiotics. Dressings are used to prevent further trauma, to minimize the risk of infection, to relieve local pain, and to optimize the environment for healing.
Reduce the pressure.
Depending on the location of your foot ulcer, you may need to keep pressure off the area. This is called “off loading” and means avoiding all mechanical stress on the wound so that it can heal. If there is no infection, a total contact cast may be used to relieve pressure. Your chiropodists may recommend using “non weight bearing” devices such as orthopedic shoes, a walker, crutches, or even a wheelchair or bed rest. These can help healing by relieving pressure on the injured part of your foot.
How to Avoid Foot Ulcers and Wounds:
Daily footcare can prevent serious problems. According to the National Institute of Health, the following are simple, everyday steps that will help prevent serious complications:
- Take care of diabetes
- Check BOTH your feet every day
- Wash your feet every day
- Trim your toenails each week or when needed
- Wear shoes and socks at all times
- Be active
Learn more about foot ulcers. If you have a wound or ulcer that just won’t heal, don’t wait! Make an appointment to see your Chiropodist today!