Diabetic Foot Ulcers
A diabetic foot ulcer is a break/hole through the body’s outer protective layer, the skin. The most important factors in their forming include:
- Reduced ability to feel pain due to diabetic neuropathy.
- Diminished blood flow to the lower extremities.
- Excessive pressure at the ulcer site. This may cause a blister or callus to form. The skin below then begins to break down.
Additional factors include:
- Abnormal blood sugars.
- Reduced functioning of the immune system.
- Nutritional imbalances.
Recognizing the role that each of the above factors play also tells us what is necessary to heal these wounds. If the right environment is created, ulcers will heal quickly and uneventfully. Each of the steps in treatment is aimed at creating that environment.
Diabetic foot ulcers must be kept clean and pressure free. If there is adequate blood flow, these wounds will generally close nicely and rapidly. When they do not respond, we need to reevaluate which of these factors is missing.