Dr. Patel

Care for Ulcer-Prone Diabetic Patients in Camarillo

Diabetes is a common condition in the United States, affecting over 30.3 million people, or 9.4% of the population. It occurs when the blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high. Having too much glucose in the blood can cause a myriad of health issues, one of which includes being more prone to ulcers and wounds.

The elevated glucose levels cause the body’s arteries and blood vessels to narrow, which impairs the body’s natural healing abilities. Poor circulation in cases of diabetes also puts patients at risk of ulcers. The condition also inhibits one’s immune system, so the body is less able to send white blood cells to the affected area, making wounds more vulnerable to becoming infected. Foot wounds in patients with diabetes are typically a result of neurotropic ulcers, and they form on the plantar aspect of the foot areas.

What makes these wounds especially harmful is the nerve damage that often comes with diabetes that prevents patients from feeling when there is an issue. Approximately 14-24% of patients with diabetes who develop an ulcer will require an amputation. At Performance Foot & Ankle in Camarillo, we would like to change those odds, and provide effective foot care for diabetic patients who have ulcers and who would like to prevent ulcers from forming.

What Our Board-Certified Podiatrists Recommend

Being mindful of changes in your body and examining your skin for signs of damage is always important. If you have diabetes, for the reasons above, it is even more crucial. Foot ulcers look like red craters in the skin and can usually be found on the sides or bottom of feet.

The longer the ulcers remain untreated, the higher risk that the patient will develop an infection. Our office in Camarillo provides routine bi-annual foot exams to check for early signs of nerve and vascular issues brought on by diabetes. Even if an ulcer does develop, if we are able to diagnose it quickly enough, we can remove it before it spreads to the bone and creates irreversible damage.

For some patients, we may recommend our Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Program. This will involve a custom orthotic designed specifically to prevent shoe ulcers. They work by relieving pressures on the foot and creating a softer experience for the feet, resulting in a non-ideal place for calluses to form.

Creating a Healthy Environment for Wound Healing

If you find yourself with a wound, such as a foot ulcer, it is best to avoid resorting to at-home treatments in hopes that the problem will dissipate in time. No matter how well-advertised some of the over-the-counter-treatment options are, and despite their hefty promises, this route will be more likely to leave you with a permanent injury than any real healing.

At Performance Foot & Ankle, we are trained to treat foot wounds at the source. We know that healing often requires routine debridement, oxygen availability, and proper blood flow. Debridement is the removal of dead or infected skin tissue to help a wound heal, and is best handled by a medical professional. In addition, you may think that you are getting enough oxygen and white blood cells to the affected area, but patients with diabetes have an inhibited ability to facilitate healing.

Other Reasons Why You Should Seek Out a Podiatrist for Diabetic Foot Wound Care Include:

  • Infection prevention: If a foot wound becomes infected, it can develop into an abscess, which is a pocket of puss. It can also lead to reduced functioning in the feet and, in some cases, require amputation.
  • Removed pressure from the area, or “off-loading:” Off-loading is defined as a measure to eliminate abnormal pressure points and promote healing. Effective offloading protects the area by addressing both pressure and strain issues.
  • Receiving necessary medications or dressing: It may be in your favor to seek antibiotics, antiplatelets, or anti-clotting medications to treat the ulcer. These medications can also be used for preventative measures in some cases. As for dressings, various types of nonadherent or saline-soaked gauze dressings are typically used for diabetic ulcers to provide a moist environment for the wound to heal. Both of these measures are vital for proper healing and will be accessible through a podiatrist.
  • Receiving medical advice for managing health problems: Ulcers and diabetes are often associated with a variety of other health problems that can result in foot pain. At Performance Foot & Ankle, it is not our job to judge, but to lift our patients out of these places where they might feel unsure of what steps to take. All of our doctors are board-certified with either the American Board of Pediatric Surgery or the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. This makes us helpful resources for navigating foot pain and preventing it in the future.

To find relief from diabetic foot wounds, or to learn about our other services, call Performance Foot & Ankle today at (805) 380-3152 or contact us online.