About 25 percent of people living with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer. And once healed, foot ulcers have an alarming recurrence rate. As many as 40 percent of people with a healed diabetic foot ulcer develop a new ulcer within a year.
Diabetic foot ulcers can be challenging to heal
Aggravating factors prevalent in individuals with diabetes, such as high blood sugar levels, poor circulation, immune system issues, nerve damage and infection can make diabetic foot ulcers difficult to heal.
It’s estimated that approximately 14 to 24 percent of people with foot ulcers will experience an amputation. And, unfortunately, individuals with an amputation have a 50 percent mortality rate within five years.
Common Causes of Diabetic Foot Ulcers
- Neuropathy (damage to peripheral nerves, causes weakness, numbness and pain in hands and feet)
- Peripheral Arterial Disease (narrowed arteries, reduces blood flow to the limbs)
- Charcot Foot (deforming foot as a result of nerve damage in the foot or ankle, causing injuries to go untreated and leading to the breakdown of joints)
Prevention Recommendations from Lakewood Ranch Medical Center’s, Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine
- Stop smoking
- Have comprehensive foot exams at least four times a year
- Inspect your feet daily
- Practice regular foot care: cleaning toenails and caring for corns and calluses
- Wear supportive, proper footwear
- Eat healthy and exercise regularly for improved circulation
Techniques for Healing
The Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine offers specialized wound care therapies including:
- Total Contact Casting – considered the gold standard, the technique is used to relieve pressure from the wound
- Debridement – the removal of damaged tissue
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen while relaxing in a pressurized chamber. The therapy helps to accelerate the healing process by delivering a high concentration of oxygen to the bloodstream and wound.
For more information about diabetic foot ulcers or how we can help, call the hospital’s Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at 941.782.2830 or visit lwrmc.com