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Essential Tips To Prevent Diabetic Wound Infections

tips to prevent diabetic foot wounds

Diabetic wound infections are common and preventable occurrences that increase the risk of amputation. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), approximately 15% of diabetic patients develop a diabetic foot ulcer and six per cent of those will be hospitalized due to wound infection or other complications.

As with every other type of infection, a diabetic wound infection occurs when bacteria enter the body through an injury which can be something as small as a blister or scrape. Although diabetic sores and ulcers are not infections, they can often lead to them. 

There are two principal contributory factors to infected diabetic wounds. The first is nerve damage or neuropathy, which impairs feelings in the legs and feet, so someone might not know they have a wound. The second is peripheral artery disease (PAD) which impedes blood flow, preventing or impeding the healing of minor injuries. The slower the healing process, the greater the risk of infection.

Preventing Diabetic Wound Infections

The first line of defense against diabetic wound infections is regular foot screenings by a qualified primary care physician followed by simple self-care strategies. Therefore, it's a good idea to build the following into your routines.

Inspect your feet daily: Look for blisters, bumps, bruises, redness, sores and cracked skin. Even the tiniest cracks can become infected. If you can't easily see your feet, use a mirror or ask a family member to carry out the foot inspection. Daily checking will help you spot a potential problem as early as possible.

Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water: After bathing your feet, be sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes, since moisture here creates the perfect conditions for fungal growth. If you observe any sign of athlete's foot, use a separate towel to dry your feet so you don't spread the infection to other parts of your body. 

Moisturize your feet: Use moisturizers and lubricants to keep your feet soft and stop your skin from getting dry or cracking.

Cut your toenails regularly: If you can't feel your toes or reach them, ask a podiatrist to cut them.

Check the inside of your shoes: Before putting them on, check for sharp objects or rough edges that could cause injuries and abrasions.

Safeguarding Your Feet

Just as important as the things you should do are the things you shouldn't. Bear the following in mind:

Avoid walking barefoot, even in your home: When slippers or shoes don't protect your feet, they are more vulnerable to injury. If you're walking barefoot, you're more likely to step on a stone, twig or piece of glass that pierces your skin and causes an injury that your body may be ill-equipped to deal with.

Don't use harsh chemicals on your feet: if you have warts or calluses on your feet, don't treat them with wart removers or other harsh chemicals. See a podiatrist instead.

Don't wear tight socks or socks with elasticated tops: These can reduce the blood flow to your feet.

Wound Infection Control

If you have a diabetic wound on your feet or legs, there are several things you can do to help the wound heal and prevent further complications.

Monitor blood sugar levels: People with diabetes already know to monitor their blood glucose levels closely. This is crucial if you have a diabetic wound because high blood glucose levels prevent white cells from healing tissues and limit blood flow around healing sites.

Keep the diabetic wound covered: Wounds heal quicker if they are covered with a bandage and a wound dressing that helps maintain an optimum environment (not too dry or too wet). This lets the wound drain and heal properly. Typical wound dressings for people with diabetes are impregnated with antimicrobial agents to stave off and fight infection.

Ease the Pressure: If the wound is on your foot, avoid walking directly on the injury at least until it has healed. Too much pressure can delay healing and leave you at greater risk of infection. Another option is to wear a removable cast walker that will evenly redistribute pressure through the lower leg and foot.

Be Aware of the Symptoms of Diabetic Wound Infections

The symptoms of diabetic wound infections are similar to many other types of infection. In addition to pain and tenderness at the wound site, a person with diabetes might experience non-local symptoms such as:

Ask About Diabetic Wound Infection Prevention

If you discover anything wrong with your feet that doesn't disappear quickly with an in-home treatment, it's vital to call your doctor. If you have diabetes, then it's crucial to have your feet and legs checked regularly. To find out more, call MINT today or book an appointment online at one of our 5 clinics, including the latest addition in Chicago, IL.


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