What’s in a Wound?
A foot ulcer or wound is a common complication of diabetes and requires professional management and off-loading. Chiropodists are professionals trained in diabetic foot care who understand the complexities of ulcers.
The term ulcer refers to breaks in the skin and may form due to decreased circulation or sensation within the feet. Management consists of wound evaluation, debridement, application of topical antibiotics, appropriate dressings, footwear advice, padding or insoles, and custom-made orthotics. People with diabetes are especially prone to developing ulcers and often heal slower.
The four main reasons people get ulcers or wounds on the foot are Neuropathic, Arterial, Venous, or Decubitus.
Neuropathy causes ulcers due to a loss of sensation. Neuropathy is often found in people with diabetes. However, it can also appear in people with substance abuse issues. The ulcers stemming from neuropathy are generally seen under weight-bearing areas and often begin as a callus or corn.
Poor blood flow to the lower extremities can cause arterial ulcers and can be very painful. Often these wounds are found on the toes, top of the foot, heel, ankle, or lower leg and can become very quickly infected.
Compromised veins cause venous ulcers. These ulcers differ from arterial in the type of blood supply channel. Veins take blood fluid from the legs up to the heart, whereas arteries take blood and fluid away from the heart. When veins are fighting gravity to return to the heart, they use valves to keep the blood flowing in the right direction. If these valves malfunction, the fluid and blood can pool and cause swelling. The increased pressure can cause discoloration of the leg and ulceration. Commonly, these ulcers or wounds are found around the inside of the ankle and are slow to heal.
Lastly, prolonged exposure to one area of the foot can cause decubitus ulcers. Most commonly, an ulcer or wound is found on someone confined to bed and occurs on the back of the heels.
Check out our blog, Worrisome Wounds, ➡️ to learn more about what you and your chiropodist can do to prevent and care for ulcers.
Treating foot injuries right away is vital, so schedule an assessment today.