Diabetic Foot Ulcer – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Diabetic people have a greater risk of developing foot ulcers than non-diabetics.   About 10 to 15 per cent diabetics suffer from foot ulcers. Foot ulcers in diabetics should not be ignored.

If left untreated, it could lead to severe complications, which might cause gangrene and foot amputation.

Symptoms of diabetic foot ulcer

Diabetic ulcer is characterized by an open sore or wound on the foot. However, a person with diabetes might not experience any pain due to loss of sensation in the legs and feet caused by diabetic neuropathy.

At the early stage, the ulcer would appear as red blister on the foot. If left untreated, pus will ooze out of the blisters. The open wound might be infected and the infection would gradually spread to the healthy tissues of the foot and leg. At the advanced stage of diabetic ulcer, the blood sugar level might reach abnormally high levels. Often diabetic foot ulcers are accompanied by fever.

Causes of diabetic foot ulcer

People suffering from diabetes for at least ten years have a greater risk of developing diabetic foot ulcer. The risk of foot ulcers could be significantly lowered by keeping the blood sugar level under control. Men are more susceptible than women are to diabetic foot ulcers.

People with diabetic neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease and history of ulcers are most vulnerable to foot ulcers. Diabetics with deformities in the foot bones, bunions, thick and sharp toenails should take regular care of their feet to prevent foot ulcers.

Diabetic foot ulcer treatment

Researchers have observed that depression and stress slows down the healing process. Depression should therefore be treated to enable speedy recovery from foot ulcers. Diabetics with foot ulcers are often advised to use crutches or wheelchairs until the sore heals.

Reducing pressure on the ulcer speeds up the healing process. Often anticoagulant or anti-platelet medications are prescribed to prevent blood clotting, which might develop by keeping the leg affected by ulcer in a stationary position for a prolonged period.

Infections are treated with antibiotic medications. Antibiotic creams might be applied to the sores. Tea tree oil and aloe vera gel might cure infections. Diabetic foot ulcers could be treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

In this treatment, the patient sits in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber to increase the oxygen content in the blood. Rise in the oxygen level in the blood helps to heal the ulcer rapidly.

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