Frequently Asked Questions
What are diabetic ulcers?
A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore that can develop anywhere on your feet or toes. The ulcers usually develop on the bottom of the foot and you may first notice drainage on your sock. Drainage is fluid that can be yellow or brown and it may contain blood or pus.
What increases my risk for diabetic foot ulcers?
- Blood sugar levels that are not controlled
- Nerve damage and numbness in your feet
- Poor blood flow
- A foot deformity (i.e., bunion or hammertoe)
- Calluses or corns on your feet or toes
- Decrease in vision that keeps you from seeing your feet clearly
- Being overweight
- Smoking and alcohol use
What can I do to prevent diabetic foot ulcers?
- Keep blood sugar levels under control
- Wash feet every day with warm water and soap
- Check feet every day. Look at your entire foot, including in between toes and underneath, using a mirror, if necessary
- Protect your feet – DO NOT walk barefoot or wear shoes without socks
- Wear shoes that fit well and do not rub
- Wear light colored socks
- Do not smoke
- Do not drink alcohol
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Inspect inside shoes for foreign or protruding objects
How are diabetic foot ulcers treated?
- Bandages: a strip of material that is used to protect or bind a wound
- Debridement: the removal of damaged tissue or foreign objects from a wound
- Health Management: monitoring blood glucose level and other health problems
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO): a medical treatment that enhances the body’s natural healing process. You breathe 100% pure oxygen while inside a pressurized chamber, which helps your blood carry more oxygen to organs and connective tissues to promote wound healing.
- Medication: an ointment or pill that your physician deems necessary for your healing (i.e., antibiotics)
- Offloading: reducing pressure on a wounded body area and not bearing weight on it
When should I contact my health care provider?
- If you see new drainage on your sock
- If your foot becomes red, warm or swollen
- If your foot ulcer has a bad smell or is draining pus
- If you feel pain in a foot that used to have little or no feeling
- If you see black or dead tissue in or around your ulcer
- If your ulcer becomes bigger, deeper or does not heal
- If you have questions or concerns about your condition or care
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