October 22, 2010

Diabetic Wound Care of Feet

If this was not so serious, maybe we could all laugh about it, but taking care of foot injuries is very important if you have diabetes and no laughing matter.

Day 1 – stub your toes on the bed as you are hurrying to the bathroom. Nothing shows when you inspect while in lighted bathroom.

Day 2 – large red area on the two toes you banged the prior evening. They are tender, but you put your socks and shoes on and go to work. In the evening, you notice a spot of blood on the sock, so you wash the feet and go to bed.

Day 3 – toes are tender and inflamed, but you go to work anyhow. In the evening, more blood on the sock, again you wash your feet and spray a little antibiotic on the area.

Day 4 – toes are inflamed and very sore, painful when touched and a crust has formed over the bleeding area. You decide to tough it out as tomorrow is Saturday. Evening finds sock soaked in blood and another stain. Wash despite the pain and apply antibiotic and cover. Sleep is difficult as foot is sore now.

Day 5 – wife wants the lawn mowed, so you start, but cannot get far. The pain is too much and when you remove your shoe, the sock is a mixture of blood and more stain. Wife see this and decides to clean the area, apply antibiotic, and cover it. Now she tells you to get the yard mowed as her sister is having a surprise birthday party for her husband at 4 o'clock, and she does not want to be late. You do as told and are able to stay off you feet the rest of the day, but at home, tired and very sore you just fall into bed.

Day 6 – Wife wakes you for church, but you cannot stand on the foot. It is swollen and inflamed. You decide to go to the emergency room. There they clean and disinfect the wound, give you an antibiotic shot and a prescription for more antibiotics, tell you to stay off your feet for a few days. They tell you to see your regular doctor, and tell you not to work for a few days. You forget to tell them you have diabetes, don't see your doctor, and don't fill the prescription.

Day 12 – you wake in the hospital and realize that you are missing your foot. The doctor is telling you that they have saved your life and that the foot and part of the leg was a small sacrifice to be able to save your life.

The above is not a true story, but it could be. If you have diabetes, any small bruise, minor cut or scratch could end up putting you in the above story.

The importance of wound care cannot be emphasized enough, especially the lower part of the legs and feet. Even if your diabetes management is excellent, accidents do happen. For understanding the stages of wounds, burns, and the healing and treatments, see this article by diagnose-me dot com.

Then there are those that think nutrition is the end-all for people with diabetes and go to extremes to promote it as the only way of managing diabetes and try to scare those who don't manage diabetes with nutrition as poor candidates for wounds and other problems as they don't practice good glycemic control. Yes, nutrition is important, but exercise is also important and taking your medications if you cannot control diabetes with exercise and nutrition.

Then when we get past those that only have one line of thinking, we can get down to those that care and offer sound advice and directions for taking care of ourselves. Even if I often do not like WebMD, they have done an excellent job of outlining the problems and treatment of wounds for people with diabetes.

The article has a ten point checklist that make a lot of sense.

Check you feet daily.
Pay attention to your skin.
Moisturize your feet.
Wear proper footwear
Inspect your shoes every day
Chose the right socks
Wash your feet daily
Smooth away calluses
Keep toenails clipped and even
Manage your diabetes

They put a lot under manage your diabetes – monitoring blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. At least they went on to say a person with diabetes should eat healthy, exercise regularly, taking medications the doctor prescribed, not smoking, and having regular medical checkups. Too many writers stop at just manage your diabetes.

I also like that WebMD also covers burns as part of taking care of yourself. There are many parts to wound care and burns can certainly happen. Please read this carefully even if it is not all about your feet.

Two other sites worth reading are: Site 1 and Site 2.

Please take the extra time to inspect your feet and legs daily and treat every minor injury immediately. This could save a toe, a foot, and even your leg by taking care of minor bruise, cut, or ingrown toenail early. If the healing does not start promptly, get to the doctor for quick medical care. This should be done for good care and proper antibiotics or other treatments.
You should have regular appointments with a podiatrist to check your feet to prevent problems from starting.  Even for regular food care this should be done.  For injuries see your regular doctor promptly.

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