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Diabetic Foot Management - What Should You Know About It?

Written and reviewed by
MS - General Surgery
Diabetic Foot Surgeon, Mumbai  •  34years experience
Diabetic Foot Management - What Should You Know About It?

You get diabetes when your body does not produce sufficient amount of insulin or because your body becomes immune to it. Diabetes is a killer disease because it makes the individual vulnerable to a host of ailments. One of its most damaging complications is the diabetic foot.

What is diabetic foot?

This ailment develops when blood sugar level remains high for a prolonged period of time, ulcers grow either because of either neuropathy (nerve damage) or peripheral arterial disease (blood supply to the feet is cut off). Ulcers are the characteristic feature of diabetic feet. The skin of the feet ruptures and the underlying layers are exposed. Infection sets in which may reach all the way to the bones. Neuropathic ulcers heal slowly over time, but ischemic ulcers may lead to the affected foot being amputated. The risk of ulcers becoming deadly is proportional to the duration of your diabetes and age. That is why it is vital to seek treatment as soon as possible.

What are the symptoms of diabetic foot ulcer?

Management of diabetic foot starts with identifying the signs of foot ulcer-

• A wound refuses to heal
• It oozes
Swelling and pain around the wound
• Discolouration of the skin of the foot

How can you treat diabetic foot?

When you sense that you have come down with a diabetic foot or if you are showing the signs of an ulcer, the first thing you can do is to make sure that you don’t stand on your feet for too long. This actually reduces the blood supply to your legs, which can lead to the ulcer becoming infected.

  • For the same reason, you should also walk as little as possible.
  • Being overweight puts a lot of pressure on the diabetic foot. So considering going on a diet and eating healthy to lose weight.
  • Your doctor may recommend diabetic shoes, casts, compression cloth or braces to help manage diabetic foot better.
  • Opt for comfortable and soft shoes that will not aggravate the ulcer.
  • Your doctor will suggest antibiotics, and anti-clotting medicines to prevent the ulcer from spreading.

There are a few things you can do at home that can help ease the discomfort of ulcers and prevent them from spreading-

• Regularly disinfects the skin of your diabetic foot
• Foot baths
• Change the dressing every day
• Slather an ointment suggested by your doctor to inhibit the growth of the bacteria colonies.
• Wipe your feet dry after showering and keep them moisturized to prevent the skin from peeling

If none of these tips works, your doctor will advise you to undergo a debridement. It is a minor, non-invasive procedure where the dead skin, tissues, and remains of compression wraps and all other foreign particles are extracted. The wound is cleaned. This speeds up the process of generation of new cells and tissues.

The diabetic foot can easily be managed with some care and dedication.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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