How to do early stage diabetic foot ulcer?

Early stage diabetic foot ulcer:

The early stages of diabetic foot problems are often overlooked because they are not unique to diabetic foot. Learning how to recognize these changes can help you prevent serious complications.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it could indicate a problem with diabetic foot or an early stage of diabetic foot, and you should seek medical attention promptly:

  1. Pain or cramping in the calves, thighs, or buttocks, especially during physical activity;
  2. Numbness in the feet (loss of sensation) or inability to feel heat or cold;
  3. Burning sensation, tingling, or pain in the feet;
  4. Dry, cracked skin on the feet;
  5. Hair loss on the feet, toes, and lower legs;
  6. Athlete’s foot or other fungal infections between the toes;
  7. Thickened, yellow toenails;
  8. Pain, blisters, ulcers, infected corns, or paronychia;
  9. Edema (swelling);
  10. Redness or warmth in the feet;
  11. Changes in the shape of the feet, a rare sign of diabetic foot that can lead to bones in the feet and toes shifting or breaking.

Untreated early stage diabetic foot ulcer problems may lead to complications including:

  1. Non-healing ulcers and infections leading to amputation of the foot, leg, or even life-threatening conditions;
  2. Corns and calluses that may develop into ulcers;
  3. Dry, cracked skin that can lead to ulcers and infections;
  4. Weakness and loss of tone in foot muscles, leading to deformities such as hammertoes and bunionettes;
  5. Charcot foot;
  6. Poor blood flow hindering wound healing, leading to tissue death.

Footwear to Help Manage early stage diabetic foot ulcer:

You can support diabetic foot by choosing appropriate footwear to help prevent complications. Follow these tips for selecting the right products:

  1. Wear well-fitting, seamless cotton socks to reduce friction, and change them daily.
  2. Choose shoes with a wide toe box.
  3. Measure your feet every time you buy shoes, and consider shopping later in the day when your feet may be swollen.
  4. Avoid wearing pointed shoes and high heels as they can put extra pressure on the toes.
  5. If possible, rotate wearing several pairs of comfortable, well-fitting shoes to avoid pressure on the same parts of the feet.
  6. Ask your doctor about custom shoes that can reduce the risk of foot ulcers.
  7. Inquire about how to fit custom orthotic insoles or wear supports to cushion your steps and redistribute your body weight onto the bones and joints of your foot, improving your gait (walking pattern).
  8. Wear compression socks for diabetic foot, which promote blood flow by gently squeezing your legs.Recommended sock brands:Stance

Home Monitoring and Foot Care:

Home monitoring and foot care can help you detect symptoms of diabetic foot early. This can promote quicker treatment and reduce the risk of amputation due to complications. Controlling your blood sugar levels within the target range is the best way to protect your feet from nerve and vascular damage. Taking the following steps to ensure foot care also helps keep your feet healthy:

  1. Check the tops and bottoms of your feet for any changes, such as cuts, redness, pain, blisters, or other changes in the skin or nails of the feet or toes. Use a mirror to help check the bottoms of your feet.
  2. Wash your feet daily with warm water and soap, avoiding soaking as it can dry out your feet. After washing, dry your feet thoroughly and apply moisturizer to the tops and bottoms, avoiding between the toes.
  3. Wear appropriate shoes and socks to prevent irritation or pain caused by friction.
  4. Do not walk barefoot, even indoors, to avoid injury. Check for small stones or other materials in your shoes to prevent skin irritation.
  5. Do not attempt to remove corns or calluses with scissors or over-the-counter products yourself. Consult a podiatrist for these issues.
  6. Trim toenails straight across with scissors. If you are unable to do this, let a podiatrist do it for you.
  7. Protect your feet from extreme temperatures. Resist the urge to walk barefoot when the weather is warm. In colder months, wear socks instead of placing your feet near heaters to stay warm.
  8. Keep your feet elevated when sitting to maintain blood flow in your feet. Swing your toes and move your feet around for a few minutes several times a day.
  9. Stay active with exercises like walking, cycling, or swimming that are less likely to injure your feet.
  10. Even if you do not notice any problems, have regular foot exams, including physical examinations of your feet and tests for blood flow to your feet during medical visits.

How to Treat early stage diabetic foot ulcer:

The approach to treating diabetic foot in a hospital depends on the location and severity of the damage, as well as other factors such as your overall health condition and underlying conditions. While diabetic foot cannot be cured, treatment can slow its progression and manage it before complications become severe. Early diagnosis may allow treatment with one of the following non-surgical treatments:

  1. Wound dressings: Specialized wound dressings and topical medications can protect diabetic foot ulcers from infection and promote healing.
  2. Antibiotics: These medications are used to treat infections orally or by injection and prevent their spread.
  3. Offloading: Special casts, shoes, or braces can be used to relieve pressure on diabetic foot ulcers, a process known as offloading, and promote healing. Methods include bed rest, using a wheelchair, walking with crutches, and removable cast walkers.
  4. Debridement: This involves removing contaminants (foreign objects) and necrotic (dead or dying) tissue from diabetic foot ulcers to promote healing and avoid infection. Debridement can be achieved through surgical or non-surgical methods using special dressings and gels.
  5. Alleviating limb ischemia (restricted blood flow): If your diabetic foot ulcers are related to vascular diseases like peripheral artery disease (PAD), non-surgical interventions such as angioplasty and stent placement may be appropriate.
  6. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: This therapy involves sitting in a closed chamber filled with high-pressure oxygen to breathe, increasing the oxygen in your blood. This action stimulates the repair of damaged tissue.

6 Key Steps to Prevent early stage diabetic foot ulcer:

  1. Controlling blood sugar to target levels is the premise for reducing diabetic foot.
  2. Regular lower limb vascular examinations. Early detection of vascular narrowing is possible. Currently, lower limb vascular Doppler examinations are mainly used to detect vascular narrowing.
  3. Proper daily foot care. Do not wear hard shoes in life, and the soles of the shoes should not be too soft or thin to prevent injuring the soles of the feet; do not wear too tight leather shoes; the water temperature should not be too high when washing feet, preferably not exceeding 40°C; if numbness, abnormal sensation, and needle-like pain in the fingertips are found in the lower limbs, timely medication treatment for peripheral neuropathy should be applied, and it is best to consult a specialist for diagnosis and treatment; be extremely careful when trimming toenails, as slight carelessness causing skin damage may lead to uncontrollable consequences.
  4. Regular foot massages. Can relieve the situation of foot ischemia and hypoxia, but the technique should be gentle.
  5. Control the intake of high glycemic index diets to reduce blood sugar fluctuations. Take medication or use insulin to control blood sugar on time, refuse greasy diets and high glycemic index diets in daily life, and moderately increase the intake of fruits and vegetables.
  6. Regulation of blood lipids is also very necessary. Dyslipidemia is the main cause of arteriosclerosis and vascular narrowing, so it is also necessary to control blood lipids well.

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