Treat the infection. The chiropodist will thoroughly clean the wound to remove all infected tissue. Early, aggressive wound cleaning (called “debridement”) has been shown to more rapidly heal these wounds. If there is an infection, antibiotics can be prescribed. If the infection is severe, you may be hospitalized to receive intravenous antibiotics. Dressings are used to prevent further trauma, minimize the risk of infection, relieve local pain, and 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 “offloading” and means avoiding all mechanical stress on the wound so it can heal. If there is no infection, a total contact cast may be used to relieve pressure (see below). Your chiropodist may recommend using “non-weight bearing” devices such as orthopedic shoes, crutches, a walker, a wheelchair or even bed rest. These can help healing by relieving pressure on the injured part of your foot.
Total Contact Casting system: combines the above treatments in a plaster cast that is proven to be the gold standard among most experts. It is believed to be the best method of offloading to help heal the ulcer. Read more about it here.
Simple daily footcare can prevent serious problems. According to the National Institute of Health, the following are simple, everyday steps that will help avoid serious complications:
- Take Care of Your Diabetes. Make healthy lifestyle choices to keep your blood sugar close to normal. Work with your health care team to create a diabetes plan that fits your lifestyle characteristics.
- Check Your Feet Every Day. You may not be aware of a foot problem. Check your feet for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, or infected toenails. Checking your feet should become part of your daily routine. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a plastic mirror to help. You can also ask a family member to help you. Important Reminder: Be sure to call your doctor immediately if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not heal after one day.
- Wash Your Feet Every Day. Wash your feet in warm, NOT HOT, water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get dry. Dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between your toes. Use talcum powder to keep the skin dry between the toes and rub a thin coat of skin lotion or cream on the tops and bottoms of the feet.
- Trim your Toenails Each Week or When Needed. Trim your toenails with clippers after you wash and dry your feet. Trim the toenails straight across and smooth them with an emery board or nail file. DO NOT cut into the corners of the nail or rip off hangnails. If your nails are thick or yellowed, DO NOT cut them yourself, have a chiropodist trim them.
- Wear Shoes and Socks At All Times. Wear shoes and socks at all times. Do not walk barefoot, not even indoors. It is extremely easy to step on something and hurt your feet. Always wear seamless socks, stockings, and nylons with your shoes to help avoid the possibility of blisters and sores developing. Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
- Be More Active. Walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are easy on the feet. Avoid all activities that are hard on the feet, such as running and jumping.
Do you have any questions or suspect you may have an ulcer? Don’t let your foot condition worsen. Please give our office a call and have it assessed by a professional.
Visit our blog for more information on Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options for Foot Ulcers and Wounds.