Did you know that foot ulcers are the leading cause of amputations? Did you know that a diabetic foot ulcer is one of the top causes of hospital visits and non-traumatic amputations in the United States? Did you know that a diabetic foot ulcer can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Did you know that treating diabetic foot ulcers can slow their progress toward amputations from 80% to just over 50%?
Diabetic wounds are serious infections that need to be taken very seriously. Below is a comprehensive guide with more information and facts about diabetic foot ulcers.
What do diabetic ulcers look like?
fwounDiabetic foot wounds on the feet usually develop over bony prominences, such as the metatarsal heads or the heel. A diabetic foot ulcer diagnosis is made by a medical professional.
Diabetic ulcers can be painful or not painful, depending on their location and depth. A diabetic ulcer may also be referred to as a non-healing ulcer, a neuropathic ulcer (if it’s caused by nerve damage), a pressure sore, or an ischaemic ulcer (if it’s caused by poor circulation).
The first signs of diabetic foot ulcers are typically pain or a burning sensation in your foot. You may also feel numbness and tingling in your toes.
If you have type 2 diabetes and don’t have proper blood sugar control, you might have had an infection (called cellulitis) in your lower leg or ulcers on your ankle before the open wound appeared. You might also have diabetic foot sores on your heel or ankle that doesn’t heal properly. These sores are called decubitus ulcers (pressure sores).
Diabetic foot ulcer symptoms include:
- Swelling around the ankle
- Redness or discoloration of the skin at the site of the ulcer
- Pain in your toes or foot when you walk (especially after exercise)
What causes diabetic ulcers?
Diabetic foot ulcers develop as diabetic foot sores on feet due to nerve damage and poor blood supply. They’re a common complication of diabetes, which affects as many as 1 in 3 people with the disease.
The main cause of diabetic ulcers is nerve damage that results from chronic high blood sugar levels and poor circulation. As a result, the skin loses its ability to sense pain or temperature changes, so it’s often difficult for diabetics to notice or treat an infection before it becomes severe.
The most common cause of diabetic ulcers is neuropathy, or nerve damage caused by diabetes. When nerves lose their ability to send messages from your brain to your body, your body can’t detect pain or temperature changes in areas like your feet. That makes it difficult treating diabetic foot ulcers early on. The condition also causes numbness and weakness in affected areas, which makes walking difficult — another diabetic foot ulcer risks.
The following are potential causes of diabetic foot ulcers:
Poor blood flow — Diabetes affects the blood vessels, preventing them from supplying adequate oxygen to tissues such as your toes and ulcers on feet. This can lead to tissue damage, an infected wound, or a sore on your foot.
Nerve damage — Diabetes can damage nerves throughout the body, including your feet. When this happens, you may lose feeling in certain parts of your feet, making it more difficult to detect a problem early enough for diabetic foot ulcer treatment to be effective.
Skin changes — Diabetes can cause changes in your skin’s ability to fight off bacteria or heal quickly after an injury or cut occurs. This makes it easier for bacteria or cuts to get infected in areas with less protective skin or blood flow.
How serious are diabetic ulcers?
Diabetic foot ulcers are serious. But they can be prevented with good foot care and early treatment. Diabetic ulcers are open sores on the feet and legs when diabetes damages blood vessels and nerves. These diabetic wounds often won’t heal, even with treatment. Without treatment, they can get worse and even lead to amputation.
Are diabetic ulcers curable?
Diabetic foot ulcers are preventable and curable. But they can be tricky to treat, and the longer they go untreated, the greater your risk of complications like amputation.
Diabetes is a serious condition that affects your body’s ability to use glucose — a type of sugar — for fuel. Glucose comes from the foods you eat, but it also is produced by your liver.
If you have diabetes, your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not use insulin properly (insulin resistance). This causes glucose levels in the blood to rise above normal. These high blood glucose levels can damage nerves and important organs such as your kidneys, eyes, and heart.
Diabetic foot ulcers occur when a person with diabetes has neuropathy, or nerve damage, in their feet. Neuropathy makes it difficult for them to feel pain in their feet and legs due to nerve damage caused by diabetes. This can make it hard for people with neuropathy to notice injuries or ulcers on their feet until they become infected or, worse yet, gangrenous (tissue death).
What three things should you never do to the feet of someone with diabetes?
- Don’t apply a bandage or tape that is not designed for use on diabetics.
- Don’t give painkillers to a person with diabetes unless prescribed by their doctor.
- Don’t try to treat the foot ulcer yourself, as it can lead to infection and other complications.
How long do diabetic ulcers last?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that lasts a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with it forever. There are many ways to reduce your risk of developing complications, such as regular check-ups with your doctor and following a healthy diet and exercise routine. You should also visit your doctor if you notice any symptoms or changes in your body that the condition could cause, so they can advise you on how best to manage them.
Diabetic foot ulcers can develop from minor injuries that aren’t treated quickly enough or several other causes. It’s important for anyone with diabetes who experiences any problems with their feet or legs to get checked out by their doctor immediately so they can receive treatment for any problems before they get worse and become more difficult to treat.
Can you reverse diabetic ulcers?
The good news is that diabetic foot ulcers can be reversed. However, it requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the underlying factors that led to the ulcer in the first place.
What stage is a diabetic ulcer?
Diagnosing diabetic foot ulcers classifies the degrees into three stages. The stages of diabetic foot ulcers are as follows:
Stage 1: This stage is the earliest and smallest stage. It can occur in any part of the foot but most often develops in the heel. In this stage, the skin around a fracture may be broken or poorly attached to the underlying bone. The ulceration is usually painless and may not be noticed until it bleeds or causes pain when pressure is applied.
Stage 2: In this stage, the ulcer has been present for at least two weeks but less than six weeks. The affected area has become slightly bigger and deeper than in Stage 1. The blood flow to around half of the ulcer has been interrupted by tissue death or poor healing (dehiscence). The tissue surrounding an open ulcer has often died off completely, leaving an open wound with little or no healing potential.
Stage 3: Stage 3 diabetic foot ulcers are typically deeper than those seen in Stages 2 and 4; they may extend below the ankle bone and may be accompanied by loss of feeling due to nerve damage. These are neuropathic ulcers due to nerve damage caused by disease processes such as diabetes.
What is the fastest way to heal a diabetic ulcer?
The most effective diabetic foot ulcer treatment is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. However, this is only sometimes possible. If you have diabetes and experience symptoms like tingling, numbness, or pain in your feet, visit your doctor immediately. They can assess your risk factors and help prevent further complications.
Treatment depends on several factors:
- Your age and general health condition
- Your skin type and how quickly it heals
- The size and location of your ulcer
There are several things you can do to help heal a diabetic ulcer, and your healthcare team may suggest you try:
- Watch your weight. Being overweight adds pressure to your feet and makes it harder for your blood vessels to deliver blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the tissue in your feet. This can lead to poor circulation and an increased risk of foot problems. Losing weight can improve circulation and reduce your risk of developing ulcers.
- Wear extra padding in shoes that fit properly. Shoes that are too tight or too short or have hard heels or soles can cause blisters, corns, and calluses or make it harder for your feet to move naturally.
- Wear shoes with good arch support if you have flat feet or high arches. If you have high arches, wear shoes that have soft soles, so there is room for your foot to expand when you walk or run. If you have flat feet, wear shoes with built-in arch support to raise the arch of your foot so it doesn’t flatten out when you walk or stand on it for long periods.
- Ask your doctor about using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen.
- Local wound care. Wound care for diabetic foot ulcers involves cleaning the wound and removing dead tissue. The wound is then covered with gauze or other material while it heals. Local wound care may include antibiotics for diabetic foot ulcers.
- Offloading the diabetic foot. This may involve wearing special shoes or boots that raise up your feet, so they do not touch the ground as much as usual. This helps take pressure off of your injured foot and promotes healing.
- Bioengineered skin substitutes (BESS). These are patches made from proteins grown in laboratories using cells from your body (stem cells). These patches can be placed directly over wounds to help them heal more quickly. The BESS patch can also be used as a temporary covering for open wounds until they heal enough for more permanent dressings to be applied.
- A skin graft also called a full-thickness skin graft, is used when an ulcer has damaged so much tissue that the entire skin thickness needs to be replaced. The surgeon will cut healthy skin from another part of your body and attach it over the wound, covering it with a dressing. The new graft will eventually grow into the body and become part of your own skin.
- Skin flaps are similar to full-thickness skin grafts, but they’re cut from healthy tissue rather than donor sites on other parts of your body. These flaps are attached to healthy tissue at one end and stretched across an open wound at the other end by attaching them on each side with sutures or staples.
- Surgical Options: If a diabetic ulcer does not respond to treatment, surgery may be necessary. Surgery can drain an infected wound, remove damaged tissue and repair any damaged nerves or blood vessels. However, this type of surgery carries risks such as infection and excessive bleeding, and it is not always successful. In addition, surgery can slow down healing time because it interrupts the body’s natural healing process.
- Watch Your Diet: For many years, doctors advised patients with diabetes to avoid certain foods that could affect blood sugar levels. More recently, this advice has changed somewhat because studies have suggested that some foods help lower blood sugar levels and prevent complications such as heart disease and stroke.
Can diabetic ulcers lead to amputation?
Diabetic foot ulcers are the most common reason for hospitalization among people with diabetes. If left untreated, these wounds can lead to amputation and even death. For these reasons, seeking medical assistance quickly is essential. Unfortunately, sometimes a diabetic may not feel ulcers on or under their feet. Visual inspection every day is critical.
Is diabetic foot ulcer life-threatening?
The answer to this question depends on how severe the wound is and what complications may arise from it. If you have diabetic peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) or another underlying condition that can lead to problems with healing, then there’s a chance that your ulcer could be life-threatening. Even if there’s no infection present, if you’re unable to walk because of pain or stiffness, it can be dangerous if you don’t seek medical help right away — especially if you live alone!
Vitastem For Diabetic Foot Ulcer Wound Care
Vitastem Ultra, a medical team treating severe infections, has been around for many years. Vitastem, which helps patients avoid amputations by healing debilitating infections and restoring mobility, may be the most impressive result.
Vitastem Ultra is able to treat even the most severe of infections.
- Prevent infection
- Restore and improve blood circulation to damaged cells
- Reduce inflammation
- Support tissue growth
- The affected areas must be cleaned and treated with antibiotics
Vitastem Ultra, while most infections don’t cause trauma, guarantees that you won’t need another first aid product for cuts, wounds, or infections. Vitastem Ultra, regardless of whether it is a cut on the finger while peeling potatoes, a backyard improvement accident casualty, and a diabetic injury, delivers the same infected care results as before.
Apart from Vitastem Ultra, all known antibiotics primarily use a chemical mechanism of kill. This means that the antibiotic tries to kill the bacteria slowly through either topical application (if oral) or oral absorption (if oral). It can be quite effective, but it takes much longer. Unfortunately, bacteria can also evolve resistance to medicine.
Vitastem uses natural and synthetic mechanisms to kill and combat pathogens. Vitastem Ultra’s strength comes down to its ability to kill pathogens using a physical mechanism. In addition, Vitastem infuses the affected skin cells with vitamin D3 and vitamin C.
While using a patent-pending, specialized mixture of ingredients, Vitastem Ultra has created an incredible topical drug delivery system that allows the active ingredient, Bacitracin Zinc (500 units Bacitracin in 1g), 10x stronger and deeper than other products on the market today.