Today in Neighborhood Health Watch, the topic is diabetic foot wounds and treatment options.
There are a number of things that can slow or complicate healing - including diabetes. High levels of blood glucose caused by diabetes can affect the nerves, and over time, cause poor blood circulation.
Healthy blood circulation is necessary for your skin to repair, so wounds or sores that take more than a few weeks to heal might be infected and need medical attention and can often indicate the presence of an underlying disease, such as diabetes.
In the US, there are roughly 73,000 amputations a year, and 85 percent of them start as a diabetic foot ulcer.
Dr. Steven Crossland with Chippenham and Johnston Willis Hospitals says be proactive and get yourself a good podiatrist:
"People with diabetes often have neuropathy. They can't feel things, so they could develop a sore in an area they don’t feel. It lasts for quite a while before they find it, so inspecting your feet every day as a diabetic is essential in looking for this. If you can't look yourself, have someone else do it or look with a mirror at least.
"Get your nails trimmed the way you should. Don't do them yourself. Wear protection. Never go barefooted. You could step on something - like a thumbtack in your house - and not feel it. We see patients who have embedded thumbtacks, and they have no idea they were in their foot...or a piece of glass. So you should always put on slippers."
The other big thing Dr. Crossland says is to take off your shoes and socks when you go for your doctor's appointment. Take off your shoes and socks even if your doctor doesn’t ask you to take them off. Also, Chippenham Hospital has a diabetic limb salvage program. When people get involved in this program, Dr. Crossland says, they experience a very good success rate reducing diabetic ulcers and amputations.