Foot wounds can often cause serious pain and discomfort. Especially, diabetic patients are at a greater risk of developing foot ulcers and infections that may lead to different complications. Diabetic foot wounds increase the need for the patients to get hospitalized, and they may require amputation or surgery. To avoid all that, it is very important to pay special attention to foot wound care. Diabetic patients should do everything necessary to prevent foot wounds and ulcers in the first place.
What Are Foot Wounds?
Foot wounds or ulcers are open sores that won’t heal or just keep returning. People who suffer from diabetes, generally, have a greater risk of developing foot ulcers due to their lack of feeling pain in their feet. Not wearing shoes that fit properly or a sock seam rubbing against the foot may lead to blisters or wounds that cause pain and discomfort. The elderly and the overweight also have a greater risk of getting foot wounds.
When to See The Doctor?
You should see the doctor immediately if the wound:
- Continues to bleed even after exerting pressure for 5-10 minutes
- Is longer or deeper than a half of an inch
- Is ragged or gaping
- Has some gravel or dirt stuck inside
- Was caused due to something rusty or dirty
- Pains too much
- Shows infection signs
If you see any of these signs or symptoms, you should immediately book an appointment and follow their directions for further treatment. You should also consider visiting a doctor if your routine foot wound care doesn’t seem to improve the condition and it’s only making it worse.
Prevention and Care
Foot wounds can be prevented and cured, fortunately. In either case, however, you need to stick to the proven practices to get the desired results. Let’s find out how you can prevent foot wounds and if they do happen then what you can do for proper foot wound care.
How To Prevent Foot Wounds
While it is common for diabetic patients to get foot ulcers, they can be avoided. You can make it a routine to check for signs of foot trauma, sores, ingrown toenails, cuts, bruises, blisters, and discoloration every day. Examining your own foot may be a problem, so you can either ask someone for help or use a mirror to do so.
Besides making a routine to check for the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, you can avoid foot wounds by:
- Wearing properly fitting shoes
- Not walking around barefoot
- Getting a well-balanced diet with the right mix of nutrients
- Wearing diabetic socks that have seamless interiors
- Regularly visiting a podiatrist for getting your feet examined
If you still get foot wounds anyway, the following foot wound care tips will help you heal your condition better.
Foot Wound Care Tips
The first thing you need to do for taking care of your foot wound is to wash your hands thoroughly before treating any burns and wounds. It is also advised that you should wear disposable protective gloves whenever you have to touch the wound. That said, the following are the most effective tips for foot wound care to promote better healing.
1. Reduce Pressure Or Foot Load
“Off-loading” your foot is, probably, the best thing you can do for promoting quicker healing. For proper healing, you need to give your foot time and care. And, when you have foot ulcers, you should better stay off of your foot with the ulcer. It is recommended that patients with traumatic wounds or foot ulcers should avoid walking on their wound directly until it heals up.
2. Clean Your Wounds Immediately
Whenever you get a scrape or cut, clean it right away using cool water. Use alcohol-sterilized tweezers to remove any splinters or gravel from the wound. Also, wash around it gently using soap and a washcloth. Make sure that you don’t use any alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or iodine to clean the wound.
3. Apply an Antibiotic Cream
Ointments and antibiotic creams can help keep your foot wounds moist, and they will also avoid infection from happening. So, apply a thin layer of some good cream on your wound and cover it with the bandage. Remember, however, that if you see any rashes developing, stop using it.
4. Cover Foot Wounds With a Bandage
Allowing your foot wounds to rub against your shoes or clothes can worsen it further by developing an infection or reopening the wound. So, make sure that you always keep it covered using a bandage. Quite often, the best approach is to use gauze to cover your foot wound and then wrap it over with some fabric bandage so that bacteria could be prevented from contacting the wound. Make sure that you change it every day, however.
5. Keep The Signs of Latex Or Adhesive Allergy In Check
If you have a burning feeling under the bandage or it is itching, it’s quite likely that you may be allergic to the adhesive in the bandage you are using. In that case, you should better switch to an adhesive-free dressing or a sterile gauze and use paper tape with it.
6. Keep Track Of Infection Signs
When you see redness spreading out of the injury location, swelling, yellow or green fluid leaking out of the wound, or feel tender or warm around the foot wound, you have probably got an infection. Other common signs of infection include chills, body aches, fever, and swelling in the lymph nodes at the neck, groin, or armpit. When you notice any of these infection symptoms, consult with your doctor immediately.
Proper foot wound care is necessary to promote healing and ensure that your foot wounds don’t get worse. Healing starts almost immediately after sustaining an injury. Infection-causing bacteria are attacked by the white blood cells. Red blood cells, platelets, and fibrin form a clot over the foot wound, and a protective scab forms. So, if you aid this natural healing process with proper foot wound care, it will heal even quicker. In case, if you need a doctor’s help for some reason, visit Complete Foot and Ankle and get wound care services from experienced doctors and foot ulcer experts.