How Can a Foot Ulcer be Prevented?
The best way to treat a diabetic foot ulcer is to prevent its development in the first place. Recommended guidelines include seeing a podiatrist on a regular basis. He or she can determine if you are at high risk for developing a foot ulcer and implement strategies for prevention.
You are at High Risk if You:
- Have Neuropathy
- Have Poor Circulation
- Have a Foot Deformity (i.e., bunion, hammertoe)
- Wear Inappropriate Shoes
- Have Uncontrolled Blood Sugar
Reducing additional risk factors, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, high cholesterol, and elevated blood glucose are important in the prevention and treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer. Wearing the appropriate shoes and socks will go a long way in reducing risks. Your podiatric physician can provide guidance in selecting the proper shoes.
Learning how to check your feet is crucial in noticing a potential problem as early as possible. Inspect your feet every day-especially between the toes and the sole-for cuts, bruises, cracks, blisters, redness, ulcers, and any sign of abnormality. Each time you visit a health care provider, remove your shoes and socks so your feet can be examined. Any problems that are discovered should be reported to your podiatrist as soon as possible, no matter how "simple" it may seem to you.
The key to successful wound healing is regular podiatric medical care to ensure the following "gold standard" of care:
- Appropriate Debridement of Wounds
- Treating any Infection
- Reducing Friction and Pressure
- Restoring Adequate Blood Flow
The old saying, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" was never as true as it is when preventing a diabetic foot ulcer.
Copyright 2008, American Podiatric Medical Association, Inc.