People who have diabetes can be prone to foot ulcers, which are open sores that are usually found on the sole of the foot. Prevention of foot ulcers is one reason it's so important for diabetic patients to inspect their feet regularly. If you have diabetes and develop an ulcer, it's extremely important to take care of it properly to promote quick healing and prevent infection and other complications that could lead to amputation.
Treat Any Open Sores Immediately
If you notice an ulcer or any type of cut or opening on your foot, it's imperative that you begin treating it immediately. Make an appointment to see your family doctor or podiatrist as soon as possible and begin proper home care while you're waiting to be seen.
Keep Your Wound Clean
The best way to prevent infection is to clean your wound carefully several times a day. Don't use any harsh cleansers or peroxide, as these could irritate the wound. Stick to mild cleansers and water unless your doctor recommends a different product. Don't use any topical ointments or creams unless advised to do so by a medical professional. You can cover the area with a sterile bandage or gauze.
Wear Wound Dressings As Directed
Some smaller cuts and ulcers may heal fine with simple bandages, but larger ulcers and sores that get infected will most likely require a special dressing. It's important to allow the wound to drain in order to heal, and either keeping it too dry or too wet can slow the healing process. Your doctor will do a thorough examination to determine what type of dressing is best, and you'll need to change it as often as directed. Hydrocolloid bandages and dressings with antimicrobial agents such as silver or iodine are often used on diabetic foot ulcers. If you have a severe or infected ulcer, your doctor may refer you to a wound care clinic for regular dressing changes.
Don't Put Pressure on Open Sores
Walking on a foot with an ulcer can cause serious issues due to the weight and friction. Unless directed otherwise, do your best to stay off your foot until the ulcer heals completely. Your doctor may place a total-contact cast over your foot to distribute your weight through your lower leg. If your sore is infected, your doctor will most likely recommend a special removable boot or sandal to keep extra pressure off the wound. Wearing these devices properly and for as long as directed can significantly speed your healing time.