Diabetes affects the lower limb. Poor circulation can impair the body’s ability to heal itself. Over time, diabetes can damage sensory nerves (this is known as “neuropathy”), especially in the hands and feet.
As a result, people with diabetes are less likely to feel a foot injury, such as a blister or cut. Unnoticed and untreated, even small foot injuries can quickly become infected, potentially leading to serious complications.
A skin ulcer is where an area of the skin has broken down and you can see the underlying tissue. Diabetic ulcers are a breakdown of the skin tissue on an area of the foot. An ulcer can develop quickly and may be painful and difficult to heal. Infection is a common complication. It may be necessary to have an X-ray to determine whether there is any bone involvement when an ulcer is present.
Some Facts on Diabetic Care
Causes of diabetic ulcers:
- Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus
- Mechanical changes in conformation of the bony architecture of the foot
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Vascular insufficiency
- Lack of sensation
- Chronic irritation from ill-fitting shoes
If an infection occurs in an ulcer and is not treated right away, it can develop into:
• An abscess (a pocket of pus)
• A spreading infection of the skin and underlying fat (cellulitis)
• A bone infection (osteomyelitis)
• Gangrene. Gangrene is an area of dead, darkened body tissue caused by poor blood flow.
Diabetic foot lesions are responsible for more hospitalizations than any other complication of diabetes. The most severe foot infections that ultimately require some part of the toe, foot or lower leg to be amputated start as a foot ulcer in diabetic patients.
- Nurse Educator
- Family Doctor
- Stop Smoking
Ways to improve circulation:
- Wiggle your toes
- Rotate ankles clockwise and then counter clockwise 10-15 times
- Pick up a towel from the ground, using your toes
- Roll a cylindrical object along the arch of your foot
- Take a daily walk
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