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HomeAnswersDiabetologydiabetic footMy father has a non-healing foot ulcer. What is it?

How is a diabetic foot ulcer managed?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

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Published At April 12, 2024
Reviewed AtApril 12, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

My dad, aged 57 years, has been dealing with diabetes for the past eight years. Recently, he noticed a sore on his right foot that just does not seem to be healing. I am terrified that it might be a diabetic foot ulcer, and I have heard that these can lead to serious complications. Can you please tell us more about diabetic foot ulcers, their risks, and what I should be doing to take care of them? I am so worried about the potential consequences, and I need your expertise to guide us through this. What tests should be done now, and how can this be managed?

Please help.

Thank you.

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern.

A diabetic foot ulcer is a wound or sore that develops on the foot of a person with diabetes. These ulcers can be painful, slow to heal, and may become infected. If left untreated, diabetic foot ulcers can lead to serious complications such as gangrene, amputation, and even death. Here is what you should know about diabetic foot ulcers:

1. Risk factors: People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing foot ulcers due to nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor blood flow (peripheral arterial disease) in their feet. Other risk factors include smoking, obesity, and a history of foot injuries or surgeries.

2. Symptoms: The symptoms of a diabetic foot ulcer may include pain, tenderness, redness, swelling, warmth, or drainage from the wound. If your dad has any of these symptoms, he should consult with his healthcare provider as soon as possible.

3. Diagnosis: Your dad's healthcare provider will examine his foot and may order additional tests such as X-rays, CT (computed tomography) scans, or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans to determine the extent of the injury and whether there is any underlying bone or joint damage.

4. Management: The management of a diabetic foot ulcer involves several steps:

  • Cleaning the wound: Your dad's healthcare provider will clean the wound thoroughly to remove any debris or bacteria that may be present. This is done to prevent infection and promote healing.
  • Dressing the wound: Your dad's healthcare provider will apply a dressing to the wound to keep it clean and moist. This helps promote healing by providing a protective barrier against infection and promoting the growth of new tissue.
  • Managing blood sugar levels: Your dad should work with his healthcare provider to manage his blood sugar levels effectively. High blood sugar levels can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of infection.
  • Managing blood pressure: Your dad should work with his healthcare provider to manage his blood pressure effectively. High blood pressure can impair blood flow to the feet and increase the risk of complications associated with diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Managing cholesterol levels: Your dad should work with his healthcare provider to manage his cholesterol levels effectively. High cholesterol levels can impair blood flow to the feet and increase the risk of complications associated with diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Quitting smoking: If your dad smokes, he should quit smoking as soon as possible. Smoking can impair blood flow to the feet and increase the risk of complications associated with diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Regular foot care: Your dad should practice regular foot care by washing his feet daily with warm water and mild soap, drying them thoroughly, and applying moisturizer to prevent dryness and cracking of the skin. He should also inspect his feet daily for any signs of injury or infection and report any concerns to his healthcare provider immediately.

5. Prevention: To prevent diabetic foot ulcers from developing in the first place, your dad should practice regular foot care, wear proper-fitting shoes and socks, avoid walking barefoot, and have his feet examined regularly by a healthcare provider during routine checkups. He should also maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise and quit smoking if he smokes.

I hope this information helps you.

Thanks for using icliniq, and have a nice day.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Vandana Andrews
Dr. Vandana Andrews

General Practitioner

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