How Can Patients help Diabetic Wounds to Heal?
Diabetes is a disease which affects many organs and causes several complications. Diabetic wounds are one of the complications of poorly controlled diabetes that are bothersome and can lead to dangerous consequences. Diabetes is characterized by raised blood glucose levels. Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to maintain your blood glucose levels within normal ranges. There are various treatment options for diabetes and your doctor chooses the one which is the best for you as per your condition. You need lifestyle modifications, drugs, and sometimes insulin.
Patients face complications, such as diabetic wounds, when they do not maintain blood sugar levels within normal limits due to non-compliance to drugs and doctor recommendations.
Lifestyle modifications for diabetes also involve proper foot care. If you fail to take care of your feet as directed by the doctor, there is a higher risk of developing diabetic wounds. The following are options to promote healing of such wounds.
Adopt A Care Routine
If you are a diabetic person who is at risk of developing diabetic wounds or if you already have a diabetic wound, you need to follow a foot care routine to make sure that your wound does not expand and new wounds do not develop. The following are steps that should be included in your daily foot care:
- Examine your foot daily. Diabetes decreases the sensitivity of your feet due to nerve damage. It leads to an inability to localize a damaging stimulus and hence wounds go unnoticed.
- Inspect your wound daily to see any signs of infection or spreading.
- Wash your feet carefully with warm water and make sure you dry them completely, especially between toes. After that, apply some moisturizer as cracks on the skin can turn into new wounds.
- Choose your footwear wisely. You need comfortable shoes that do not cause pain. Wearing narrow or pointed shoes can delay the healing of wounds and can lead to new diabetic wounds as well.
- Clip your toenails carefully. Improper clipping is an important source of wounds that can grow bigger. You may need to ask for help from an expert.
- Control Your Blood Sugar Levels
As uncontrolled diabetes is the cause of wound development, proper healing requires controlling blood sugar levels within normal ranges for diabetic patients. For this reason, you need to be compliant with your medications. You should also make necessary lifestyle changes, like diet modifications and adoption of a walking routine, etc.
Take Care Of The Wounds Without Delay
Every little wound should be managed and monitored. As soon as you develop a wound, immediately tend to it because diabetic people are at higher risk of developing the infection. The wound healing is also delayed with diabetes. Therefore, never ignore even a minor cut, as it can turn into a big issue if left untreated.
Clean The Wound
Clean your wound with clear water and do not apply hydrogen peroxide, iodine, soap, or any similar agents as they can irritate your wound. Apply your antibiotic ointment suggested by the doctor and cover the wound with a sterile bandage. Change your bandage regularly. Keep the surrounding skin clean. You can wash it with soap carefully. (didn’t you just say not to use soap? I’d make it more clear when you are permitted to use soap)
Don’t Put Pressure On Wound
Diabetic people often develop wounds on the sole of their foot. This is why there is a need to avoid pressure as it delays healing. Make sure that you avoid putting pressure on your sole or at any other spot where the wound is.
When To Consult Your Doctor
Home care of the wound is necessary for proper wound healing. However, if you realize that your wound is not healing or it is expanding, contact your doctor. Never take a risk as these minor wounds can lead to amputations if not treated in a timely manner. It is also necessary to get your wound inspected from time to time by the doctor.
Muzammal Habib, MD
Vascular Medicine and vein specialist
Dr. Habib has been practicing vein care and vascular More about this author »