Diabetic foot ulcers

Diabetic foot ulcers or diabetic foot wounds occur in about 25% of individuals with diabetes. They are often preventable but can happen even if your blood sugar is under excellent control and you have proper footwear.

At HonorHealth, our team of experts go beyond the expected by partnering with you to create an effective treatment plan. Our vascular, plastic, podiatric and orthopedic surgeons, and wound care specialists are here to help you heal and prevent the devastating complications that can occur from conditions like diabetic foot ulcers.

When you’re seen at one of our locations, we’ll take your medical history and perform a physical examination. We will also assess your circulation, sensation and wound healing capabilities to help drive your care plan.

Quality care

Diabetic foot ulcers are often challenging to treat, since continued walking on the ulcer may delay healing. Our specialists offer leading-edge treatment options depending on factors such as how long the diabetic foot ulcer has been present, the specific location of the ulcer, circulation status, presence or absence of infection, and the overall appearance of the wound. Your treatment may include:

  • Diagnostic tests such as X-rays, circulation studies and lab work
  • Surgery to not only heal the ulcer but to prevent it from reoccurring
  • Angioplasty of the leg, which is a procedure performed by a vascular surgeon to open narrow or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to your legs
  • Total contact casts, which may be placed on your lower leg and foot to help relieve pressure of the ulcer to allow healing
  • Advanced skin substitutes that may be used to help healing
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which is considered in some circumstances when the ulcer hasn’t healed after adequate medical treatment

Risk factors

Poorly fitting shoes

Something as simple as a poorly fitting shoe may lead to the development of a diabetic foot ulcer. If your shoe is too tight, blisters or calluses may form that can lead to an ulceration or break in your skin. Toe deformities such as a hammertoe or bunion, and toenail issues such as ingrown or overgrown toenails can also contribute as your shoes may not fit properly.

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a condition in which you have very decreased sensation or feeling in your feet. If you lose sensation in your feet, you may not feel if your shoe is too tight or if there's something inside your shoe like a pebble. A blister or ulcer may form that isn’t felt or noticed until perhaps you see blood on your sock at the end of the day. If you have diabetes, you should routinely check your feet, including between your toes, for ulcerations or breaks in the skin.

Blockage in your arteries

Another risk factor if you have diabetes is that you may develop poor circulation from a partial or complete blockage of the arteries going to your feet. This may lead to developing a diabetic foot ulcer and also contribute to poor healing once you have one. This can lead to a serious infection that may result in hospitalization, surgery or even amputation of a toe, foot or leg.

If you’re dealing with a diabetic foot ulcer, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. A delay in evaluation can have devastating effects that could be preventable if treated early. 

Failure to treat your diabetic foot ulcer early may lead to worsening of the ulceration, which can lead to infection. Infection can be localized to your foot, but if it’s more severe, it can spread to other parts of your body.

Ready to take the next step?

At HonorHealth, we welcome the opportunity to help you manage your diabetic foot ulcer or wound. Call 480-324-7700 to make an appointment. Learn more about wound care services at HonorHealth and find a location near you.

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