Diabetic foot ulcers are more than just open wounds that take too long to heal. For many diabetics, they can be a death sentence. A slow-healing wound leaves the body open to infection, putting the patient at risk for developing gangrene that requires amputation. Following the horrific ordeal, 5-10% of amputees die during initial hospitalization, and another 50% die within the next five years. That being said, there are ways to limit your risk of developing a foot ulcer. For diabetics, prevention is the best cure! But first, we’ll discuss what causes diabetic foot ulcers.
According to Medline Plus, “Foot ulcers are partly caused by too much pressure on one part of your foot.” This uneven pressure causes the foot to break open into a wound. To keep pressure off your feet, good shoes and slippers are essential. Some diabetics may need to wear specially-made shoes, a brace, or a special cast while healing from an ulcer. Wheelchairs, canes, and other assistive devices can help as well. The best shoes are roomy canvas, leather, or suede. Adjustable laces, velcro, or buckles can help remove pressure when the foot becomes swollen after periods of standing or walking. Flip-flops, sandals, and high heels should generally be avoided.
A Manchester Foot Hospital study found that neuropathy — a loss of sensation in the feet caused by nerve damage — is a major predictive factor in the development of ulceration. Of the 63 diabetic foot ulcer patients studied, all had neuropathy — and peak plantar foot pressures. The best thing a person can do to limit neuropathy is to keep blood sugars in check through careful monitoring, insulin use, and eating a healthy diet.
Bacteria is another contributing factor to diabetic foot ulcers. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that diabetic foot ulcers contained an average of 5.8 species of bacteria, including peptococci, enterococci, Staphylococcus aureus, clostridia, and Escherichia coli. Once these harmful bacterial cultures get into the wound, infection begins to fester, causing the wound to heal even more slowly, and causing the likelihood of gangrene to increase.
What You Can Do About Diabetic Foot Ulcers:
First and foremost, diabetics must be committed to controlling diabetes through statins, insulin, and lifestyle choices. They must also see specialists regularly to have their feet professionally assessed. Furthermore, patients can cut down on the amount of bacteria they’re exposed to by using a SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer each night. The device is simply inserted into the shoes, wrapped in the included shoe bags, and switched on for 45 minutes. During the cycle, germicidal UV lamps kill up to 99.9% of the bacteria, fungus, and pathogens in the footwear. The device will automatically switch off when done. This is the same sort of technique they use for sanitization of hospitals, so you’re in good hands! For more information, visit www.SteriShoe.com.