4 Crucial Steps to Effective Diabetic Foot Care
1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and at least 15% of these patients will develop a foot ulcer in their lifetime. In fact, diabetic foot is the most common reason for hospitalization in diabetic patients and every 30 seconds, a lower limb is amputated around the world due to diabetes. This is why it’s very important to know these four crucial steps to effective diabetic wound care to prevent amputation and give patients the chance to return to their quality of life:
Always Check your Feet for Sores, Wounds or Cracks
A diabetic foot ulcer is a complication caused primarily by diabetic neuropathy due to nerve damage. This lessens the sensation on the lower limbs and causes dryness to the skin, which makes diabetic patients prone to cracks, sores, and wounds.
The first step to the best diabetic wound care outcome is to identify the earliest signs of a foot ulcer by always checking your feet for the presence of these cracks, sores, and wounds. Even the smallest crack or wound already demands attention before it turns into a bigger ulcer, so make it a habit to check your foot regularly.
Never Treat Wounds on your Own
Once you notice the presence of a wound or sore on your foot, don’t try to treat it on your own and ask for medical help right away. Effective diabetic wound care begins with proper assessment and diagnosis, and only healthcare professionals can develop an effective treatment plan that’s specific for your needs.
Keep Wound Clean and/or Dry
Treating a diabetic foot is one thing and preventing infection is another story. Since you’ll be taking care of your wound on a daily basis, it’s very important to learn about proper cleaning, debridement, and dressing to make sure that infection is prevented. Your healthcare team will discuss proper diabetic wound care with you, so make sure to take down notes and practice them diligently every day.
Never Walk Barefoot and Always Protect your Feet
Whether you have an existing ulcer or not, it’s very important to protect your feet at all times. Never walk barefoot even if you’re at home and always wear socks or shoes to keep your feet safe from any objects that could cause wounds. Also, make it a habit to check your shoes before wearing them to remove any objects that you might not feel because of the lack of sensation on your foot.
Finally, make sure to address the root of the problem, your Diabetes. Avoid smoking or anything else that will restrict blood flow on your lower limbs, take your medications religiously, comply with your treatment plan and always go to your scheduled visits to the doctor. It’s also very important to start practicing a healthier lifestyle by eating right and exercising regularly.
In the end, the outcome of diabetic wound care will all depend on your willingness to comply with everything that your healthcare team recommends. Also, make sure to get your foot checked regularly and seek podiatric medical care right away.
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