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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Diabetic Foot Ulcer: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Diabetes

Diabetic Foot Ulcer

Alternate Names : Diabetic Foot Wound, Diabetic Neuropathic Ulceration, Mal Perforant Ulcer, Diabetic Dermal Ulcer, Diabetic Dermal Wound

Diabetic Foot Ulcer | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

There are 10 major areas of treatment:

  • monitoring of peripheral vascular disease, which causes decreased blood flow to the feet. Monitoring includes regular measurement of oxygen levels in the skin, blood flow in the veins of the legs, and pulses in the legs and feet. In some cases, imaging with special dyes and X-rays will be used.
  • monitoring of diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage from diabetes, in the feet
  • correcting risk factors. A person who smokes should quit smoking. A diet for diabetes should be carefully followed for blood sugar control. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be controlled with medication.
  • doing regular exercise for a person with diabetes, to improve circulation to the feet. The healthcare provider may also prescribe special support hose to improve blood flow from the legs to the heart.
  • aggressively treating any sign of skin damage. The treatment may consist simply of local wound care and antibiotics. Infections, especially bone infections, must be treated surgically. It is very important to avoid pressure on the ulcer during healing because new tissue is delicate. Prescription inlays, or shoe inserts, can be used to relieve pressure on the area.
  • treating any fungal infections of the foot, such as fungal nail infections, with prescription medications from the healthcare provider
  • wearing well-cushioned walking shoes, athletic shoes, or special prescription shoes as recommended by the healthcare provider
  • following a team approach to care. The team may include the person with diabetes, the primary care physician, the physician's assistant, the diabetes educator, the nutritionist, the surgical specialist and, if needed, a physician specializing in diabetes.
  • performing daily foot care for a person with diabetes. In addition, the healthcare provider should examine the person's feet at each visit.
  • learning about diabetes on an ongoing basis. The individual must assume responsibility for self-care and learn how to prevent ulcers.
  • What are the side effects of the treatments?

    All medications have side effects. For example, some of the medications used to treat diabetes may cause low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia, which is potentially fatal. Surgery can cause bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    After a person gets a diabetic foot ulcer, he or she will be at risk for further skin breakdown and infection for the rest of his or her life. Informed self-care and monitoring are the best tools available to prevent skin lesions from becoming life- and limb-threatening infections. A neglected blister or callous is the most common reason for amputations in people with diabetes.

    How is the condition monitored?

    A person with diabetes needs to follow foot care guidelines and monitor blood sugar levels for the rest of his or her life. Foot inspection and monitoring of diabetes, as well as any high blood pressure or high cholesterol, is also done by the healthcare provider.

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    Diabetic Foot Ulcer: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Bill O'Halloran, DPM
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/02/01

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