Diabetic Foot Ulcers: What are the Causes and Treatments?

Foot ulcers are recurring open sores that will not heal.  As they relate to the feet, foot ulcers are most commonly created by poor circulation, high blood sugar and nerve damage resulting from an illness such as diabetes.  It is estimated that roughly 25% of all persons living with diabetes, will experience a diabetic foot ulcer in their lifetime.  Because these open sores create an environment for infection, spread disease and even require amputation of the affected area, understanding the cause, preventive measures and diabetic foot treatment of this condition can save not only your feet, but your life. Suncoast Podiatry offer diabetic foot ulcer treatment in Noosa, and around the Sunshine Coast.

Could I Have a Foot Ulcer?

To properly diagnose and seek diabetic foot ulcer treatment, you need to know the signs and symptoms.

Early telltale symptoms of foot ulcers are swelling, irritation and redness in the affected area.  As this condition progresses, it can be identified as more serious when accompanied by black tissue surrounding the area, signifying a lack of oxygen and blood flow. This black tissue usually also has an odour, discharge and even numbness.  In the event of any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek diabetic foot treatment to properly diagnose your ailment and prevent further damage.

Doctors can assess your wound and diagnose the stage your ulcer is in based on a classification system.

What Could Have Caused My Foot Ulcer?

Poor blood circulation, also known as peripheral vascular disease in those with diabetes, is the leading cause of foot ulcers.  The lack of oxygenated blood flow to certain areas of your feet causes foot ulcers to thrive, and not heal.

Another symptom of diabetes, high blood sugar further encourages foot ulcer survival by increasing poor blood circulation to the area through glucose coated arteries.

Diabetes also encourages foot ulcer survival through decreased sensation in the feet.  Because people living with diabetes sometimes lose feeling in their extremities due to nerve damage from unmanaged blood sugar levels, if a foot ulcer is already occurring it is not felt or treated by persons with diabetes.  In this way, it can get worse and has the potential for ultimate damage.

While these are the main contributing factors to foot ulcers, other causes can play a role.  Smoking tobacco, poor hygiene, or improper footwear that causes discomfort may also make feet prone to ulcers.

So How Do I Treat Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

Once confirmed that the abscess on your foot is indeed a foot ulcer, treatment should follow. 

Depending on the stage of your condition, diabetic foot ulcer treatment can be provided in various ways. One of the most common treatments to heal foot ulcers is by first, offloading, or staying off your feet to help relieve pressure on the area and discourage any spread of infection.  A podiatrist may also suggest certain wraps or specialised shoes to help take pressure off your feet.

Following suggested offloading, diabetic foot ulcer treatment consists of debridement –  the shaving of dead skin that has caused the ulcer.

In more advanced cases of foot ulcers, medication is applied to kill off the bacteria that causes infection in these open sores, further enabling the area to heal.

In extreme cases of foot ulcers that rank 4 or higher on podiatrists’ foot ulcer classification scale, an infection may have spread, compromising the foot. In these instances, surgery is usually necessary.  In efforts to not have infections from foot ulcers spread to healthy tissue throughout the rest of the body, sometimes the entire foot may be amputated.

A visit to your doctor and local podiatrist will be required. As you may have discovered by searching diabetic foot treatment near me, Suncoast Podiatry has many locations around Noosa so treatment is easily accessible for residents of the Sunshine Coast.

How Do I Prevent it, So It Doesn’t Happen Again?

Having to endure a foot ulcer is enough to make anyone take the necessary precautions to avoid one in the future.  So, how are foot ulcers prevented?

One of the best ways to prevent foot ulcers is to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.  Because diabetes and the influx of increased glucose over time narrows blood vessels and damages nerves, persons with the illness are most susceptible to foot ulcers.  This is preventable by self-monitoring blood sugar, as well as routinely meeting with a podiatrist for diabetic foot treatment.

Another way to prevent foot ulcers is to maintain proper care of your feet.  Improper shoes and even poor hygiene can create environments where foot ulcers thrive.  Washing, moisturizing and even scheduled visits to a foot doctor to receive lifesaving pedicures are all preventative measures that discourage the formation of foot ulcers.  Foot doctors can also provide debridement as mentioned, which is the shaving of dead cells from existing calluses that could progress to foot ulcers.

Diabetic Foot Ulcer Treatment in Noosa

The health of your feet ultimately relies on proper care.  To diagnose, treat and especially prevent foot ulcers it’s imperative that diabetic foot treatment near you is located.

Those who have diabetic nerve pain in the feet, coupled with the many other comorbidities of diabetes are especially susceptible to foot ulcers.  We have diabetic foot ulcer treatment located right here in Noosa as well as at other clinics near Noosa to provide the best health for your feet and ultimately improve your daily life! 

Consult with us today to convey your concerns to foot professionals with over 20 years of experience and to develop a treatment plan. We offer a complete diabetes foot assessment and care plan and are happy to liaise with your GP, especially if you have a Chronic Disease Management Plan in place.

Click here to find out more about Diabetes foot care and assessment.