Do you have questions about foot care? We have answers.
Do you have questions about foot injuries or the causes of foot pain? Tanglewood Foot Specialists provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about foot injuries and foot care. If you would like to schedule an appointment to talk to a doctor about your foot pain, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists at (713) 785-7881.
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Will medication heal my wound?
When a wound is caught very early, medication such as an antibiotic may cause the ulcer to heal quickly. In most cases however, more advanced wound care is necessary. This entails management of the pressures that have caused the ulcer to form. This is done with a cast, fracture boot, or other pressure management system. While often overlooked by some, this step is critical to wound healing.
In conjunction with offloading the wound, different wound dressing will be used to promote healing. In some cases, advanced biological skin substitute dressings, such as Dermagraft or Apligraf, will be necessary to fully promote healing. There are also times where surgery is required to heal the ulcer. Your Houston podiatrist will recommend what is the best protocol to heal your ulcer in the most efficient manner possible.
How can a diabetic foot ulcer be prevented?
A diabetic foot ulcer can be prevented in a number of ways. First and foremost, it is essential that you take control of your diabetes: ensure that your blood sugar is properly managed and you are eating properly. Using medication or insulin is not enough to control your diabetes. Diet and exercise is essential.
There are certain other risk factors that contribute to the formation of diabetic foot ulcers. Foot deformities, such as bunions and hammertoes, and the formation of calluses beneath the foot in areas of pressure can cause the skin to break down and form ulcers. In these cases diabetic shoes, or even custom shoes, are helpful in reducing pressure and protecting the foot. In cases of extreme deformity of the foot, such as charcot, a brace known as an Ankle-foot orthotic is useful in preventing breakdown of the skin.
Everyone who is living with diabetes must have a relationship with a Houston podiatrist to properly assess the risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer and recommend measures to prevent one from ever occurring.
What is a foot ulcer?
A foot ulcer is a wound that forms for a number of reasons. A wound can form because of diminished or restriction in circulation, known as Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). An ulcer can also form in an area of increased pressure when there is numbness of the nerves known as peripheral neuropathy.
A foot ulcer is a medical emergency and must be taken very seriously. A foot ulcer or wound is very susceptible to infection, which puts the person's limb, and even life, at risk. An infected foot ulcer is a main cause of amputation of the foot or leg. If addressed early, however, a foot ulcer can be healed and measures can be taken to prevent it from occurring again.
Will all diabetics develop a wound?
Not every person with diabetes will develop a diabetic foot ulcer. However, every diabetic is at risk to develop a wound. Diabetes can cause diminished circulation, known at peripheral arterial disease, and reduced nerve function, known as peripheral neuropathy, and a diminished capacity to heal. This can allow a simple callus to break down and form a diabetic foot ulcer.
A diabetic foot ulcer often goes undetected until it becomes infected. This is because there is little or no pain associated with them due to peripheral neuropathy. It is vital to detect foot wounds early. This is done with daily inspection of the feet. Look at them and see if any callus buildup or skin breakdown is apparent. If so, it is crucial to visit your Houston podiatrist immediately.
Why isn't the wound beneath my foot painful?
In many cases, a wound or ulcer beneath the foot is due to diminished sensation known as peripheral neuropathy. While common in people with diabetes, neuropathy can also be present in those without diabetes. Because the neuropathy causes the foot to be numb, the resulting wound is not painful.
Peripheral neuropathy causes the loss of protective sensation. This dulls the pain receptors of the foot, making it unable to feel something that is stepped on, like a splinter or tack, or something that is developing on the foot, such as a callus. Just because a wound is present without pain, it doesn't mean it is not serious. In fact, the opposite is true...it is a medical emergency. A non-healing ulcer has the potential to become infected, putting the limb at risk. If you see that an ulcer is developing, be sure to contact your Houston foot specialist immediately.