- Tips for Diabetes Wound Care
- Preventing Cuts and Scrapes
- Treating Wounds
- Extra TLC to Speed Healing
- Do: Check your feet every day
- Don’t: Perform any type of “bathroom surgery”
- Do: Take a “load off”
- Don’t…forget to change your wound dressings or bandages.
- Do: Ask your doctor about other options for stubborn wounds that refuse to go away
- Don’t: Overlook other factors that can help you heal faster
- 6 Key Factors in Treating a Diabetic Wound
- Can You Heal Diabetic Foot Ulcers Naturally?
- 7 Effective Home Remedies To Heal Open Wounds
- Here are some home remedies to ensure quick healing and prevent from getting infection; make sure you keep them handy.
- What is a Diabetic Foot Ulcer?
- When to Visit a Podiatrist
- Diagnosis and Treatment
- Diabetic Wound Care & Treatment
Tips for Diabetes Wound Care
A small cut can turn into a large complication when diabetes enters the picture.
For one thing, diabetes can lead to a weakened immune system “so a simple cut or scrape can get infected easier than in someone who doesn’t have diabetes,” said Kiersten Weber, DPM, a podiatrist with the University of Oklahoma’s Harold Hamm Diabetes Center in Oklahoma City.
Neuropathy or nerve damage, one of the many diabetes side effects, also can play a role. Neuropathy can occur because extra sugar in the bloodstream can damage your nerves over time. “It usually starts in the smallest blood vessels, which are in the hands and feet,” explains Dr. Weber, and when you have neuropathy, you have decreased feeling in your feet. As a result, you may not feel pain if you have a cut or blister on your foot, and if you don’t know it’s there and don’t treat it, the sore could become infected. That’s why regularly inspecting your feet for cuts, scrapes, blisters, calluses, and other wounds is such an important part of diabetes care, she said.
“If you can’t lift your feet, have someone do it for you and look at the bottom of your feet,” Weber said. “You also can use mirrors to inspect the bottom of your feet if you need.”
Preventing Cuts and Scrapes
Of course, the best way to protect yourself is to make a serious effort to prevent wounds. Make sure you never walk barefoot, even inside your home, and always wear good-fitting shoes. “I also tell my patients to check the inside of their shoes for stones,” Weber said. “If you have neuropathy, you could get a small stone in your shoe and not know it.”
Protect your feet by letting your podiatrist handle even minor foot issues. Don’t try to remove calluses or warts yourself.You might be tempted to try commercial preparations you see at your pharmacy, but they can burn your skin, which could cause serious damage to your foot. If you attempt to cut a callus or wart with a razor blade or other instrument, you could end up cutting yourself and have an even more serious problem than you started with. If you have calluses, warts, or corns, have your podiatrist treat them.
If you develop a callus, use a pumice stone to keep it under control. Apply it when your skin is wet, and use lotion immediately afterward.
Should you get a cut, treat it immediately, before it can become infected. Cleanse the affected area with soap and water daily. Dry the area well after washing, and apply an antibiotic ointment to keep the sore germ-free.
You will feel better and heal faster if you keep pressure off the wound. “Make sure you’re not stepping directly on your wound,” Weber said. “Pressure can increase the time it takes to heal.” A podiatrist can help you fabricate a pad so you’re not stepping on it, she added.
Cathey Colburn, RN, MS, CDE, the lead educator and clinic manager at the Tulsa campus of the Harold Hamm Center, urged anyone with diabetes who gets a cut or scrape that doesn’t get better within 48 hours to see a doctor. “If everyone with diabetes were to do that,” she said, “their wounds wouldn’t advance.”
Skin injuries generally heal within two weeks, Weber said, but cuts may take up to three weeks to heal in people with diabetes. “Anything beyond that is excessive, and you should have your doctor look at it again,” she recommended.
Also be aware of the signs of an infection. A wound could be infected if you feel pain, if it’s red, or if it feels warm. Drainage is another sign of an infection. Don’t ignore any of these signs. Get treatment promptly, Weber said.
Extra TLC to Speed Healing
If you get a wound, it’s also important that you:
- Eat a healthy diet. Good nutrition is important for wound care because it helps regulate your blood sugar and assures that you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs to heal, said Christine Olson, RD, LD, CDE, a dietitian at the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center. It’s especially important that you get enough protein, she said. Protein helps repair the skin and other tissue that has been damaged.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise can help keep your blood circulating and stimulates blood flow to your legs and feet. However, if you have a foot sore, stay off your feet until it heals.
Remember that even a small scrape can become serious if you don’t take proper care of it – and wounds that are left to fester could lead to an amputation in the most serious cases. Taking good care of yourself is an important step toward preventing wounds, but if you should get injured, follow all the needed steps to help it heal quickly.
Bumps, blisters, scratches, and cuts are a fact of life. For the most part, slapping on a Band-Aid or dabbing some antibiotic ointment does the trick. But if you have diabetes, even the simplest scratch or cut can quickly snowball into an extremely serious situation if you’re not extra careful. Ignoring a cut or not treating it the right way, for example, can slow healing, lead to infection, and, in the worst case, possibly result in amputation. The good news? There are steps that you can take to nip possible problems in the bud. Read on to learn how to properly take care of a wound.
Do: Check your feet every day
Look for cuts, blisters, red spots, or swelling. This is especially important to do if you have any loss of sensation in your feet or legs due to diabetic neuropathy. More than 80 percent of amputations start with a foot ulcer. For this reason, make foot checks part of your daily routine — say, before you go to bed every night. If you notice a cut that doesn’t seem to be healing, or redness that is spreading, call your doctor as soon as you can.
If you have trouble seeing or reaching your feet, ask someone to check your feet for you. Or, use a mirror to help you see the bottom of your feet.
Don’t: Perform any type of “bathroom surgery”
Leave that to the experts. There are different types of wounds, and some wounds require a process called “debridement,” which is the removal of dead tissue. Debridement helps with wound drainage and healing, and allows for closer inspection. As tempting as it may be to pick or cut off dead skin yourself, avoid doing this at all cost. You can easily end up damaging a blood vessel and worsening the problem.
Never cut corns or calluses or use an acid-based wart remover. Gently use a pumice stone, or, better yet, visit a podiatrist to get any foot issues properly taken care of.
Do: Take a “load off”
If you have a wound on your foot or leg, you may need to practice “pressure off-loading,” which, simply put, means staying off your feet. Because that’s easier said than done, your doctor may prescribe a total contact cast to evenly redistribute pressure throughout the leg. Other safe options for remaining mobile include wearing a boot, a removable cast-walker, or a healing sandal. Not wearing a prescribed off-loading device can significantly slow wound healing, so follow doctor’s orders!
Forget about hobbling around on a “wounded” foot or leg. Take the time to put on your off-loading device, even if it’s just to go to another room.
Don’t…forget to change your wound dressings or bandages.
The right dressing is crucial for wound healing, as it can help maintain the appropriate level of moisture, and allow the wound to drain and heal. Not changing your dressings often enough can affect the moisture balance and delay healing.
Don’t leave the doctor’s office without a wound “treatment plan.” This means that you know what type of dressing to use, how to apply it, and how often to change it.
Do: Ask your doctor about other options for stubborn wounds that refuse to go away
Some wounds are difficult to heal. If debridement, antibiotics, and pressure off-loading aren’t doing the job, it may be time to consider alternatives. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, commonly used to treat decompression sickness from scuba diving, increases the oxygen supply in the blood, which, in turn, promotes wound healing. Skin substitutes are another option: they protect the wound, provide a clean, moist environment, and keep bacteria out. Skin substitutes may be temporary or permanent, and can be natural (from cadaver or pig skin), or synthetic (made of silicone). Another option is maggot (fly larvae) therapy. While this seems like it’s straight out of a horror movie, maggots have been successfully used to debride wounds and burns all over the body. Maggots love munching on dead tissue, and they leave healthy tissue alone. Using maggots helps increase oxygen to the wound and enhances cellular growth. If you can get over the “ick” factor, maggot therapy could be a viable option for a non-healing wound.
Ask your doctor about other ways to deal with a wound that’s not healing. Be sure to check with your health plan to find out which therapies they will or won’t cover.
Don’t: Overlook other factors that can help you heal faster
Dealing with a wound is challenging on top of everything else in your life. But there are other steps that you can take to speed the process along. Focus on getting and keeping your blood sugars within your target range, as high blood sugars will slow the healing process. Eat a healthful diet that contains enough calories, protein, and vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and zinc, that are key for would healing. Don’t smoke, as it can weaken your immune system and prevent oxygen from getting to the wound to help it heal.
Meet with a diabetes educator to review your blood sugars and your diabetes treatment plan. Learn what steps you can take to best manage your diabetes so that your wound heals quickly.
Want to learn more about foot care? Read “Foot Care Q&A: Part 1,” “Foot Care Q&A: Part 2,” and “Improving Blood Flow to the Feet.”
6 Key Factors in Treating a Diabetic Wound
Diabetic wound treatment methods require high attention to achieve healing.
By 2030, it is estimated that more than 550 million people around the world will have diabetes. Approximately 25% of these diabetic patients will develop foot ulcers during their lifetime, which often require advanced diabetic wound treatment to prevent complications. To help achieve the optimal healing environment and protect against problems, there are six key factors to consider when treating diabetic wounds.
1. Wound Assessment
Diabetic wounds fall into three categories: neuropathic, ischemic, and neuroischemic. Knowing the distinct features of each wound category is essential to identifying wound progression, infection, and healing. Failure to properly identify the type of wound that exists can lead to an ineffective diabetic wound treatment plan, causing long-term complications or amputation.
2. Tissue Debridement
Wound debridement, or the removal of necrotic tissue from a wound, will reduce pressure, stimulate wound healing, allow for the inspection of underlying tissue, help with secretion or wound drainage, and optimize a wound dressing’s effectiveness. Clinicians typically recommend sharp debridement by scalpel or scissors, but there are other tissue-removal treatments they may recommend, including larval, autolytic, and ultrasonic.
Only an experienced practitioner who knows which section of the tissue to remove without damaging blood vessels, nerves, or tendons should perform a debridement procedure. Understanding the importance of debridement to your diabetic wound treatment plan is often essential with advanced diabetic wounds.
3. Infection Control
Infections are the top concern in any diabetic wound treatment plan. Due to the high morbidity and mortality rates associated with diabetic wounds, more aggressive forms of infection control are necessary. Both oral and topical antibiotics are recommended for all diabetic wound treatment patients who show signs of infection, even mild ones. Topical antimicrobials can reduce bacteria, protect against further contamination, and prevent the spread of infection deeper into the wound. Typical wound dressings used in treating diabetic wounds are those impregnated with antimicrobial agents to help fight infection. Clinicians often prescribe advanced wound care dressings that include silver, iodine, medical-grade honey, or polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) which work to enhance healing by keeping your wound moist.
4. Moisture Balance
Choosing the optimal dressing for a diabetic wound is essential to successful wound healing. The proper wound dressing will help maintain a balanced moisture environment (not too wet or too dry) and allow the wound to drain and heal properly. The location of the wound will also be taken into consideration by your clinician when they choose a dressing. While each wound needs to be assessed properly, some common dressings that can be used for diabetic wounds include alginates, hydrocolloids, and films.
5. Pressure Offloading
For most diabetic wound treatment plans for patients suffering from foot or leg ulcers, pressure reduction or offloading is a key factor in preventing complications. A non-removable total contact cast (TCC) redistributes pressure evenly throughout the lower leg and can reduce healing times. However, TCC is not always the best choice, especially for infected wounds, so other removable offloading devices may be used including removable cast walkers, Scotchcast boots, or healing sandals.
The most common problem with healing when using removable devices is that some patients do not wear them properly, which can delay wound healing. In these cases, studies have found that patients with removable offloading devices only wear them less than 30% of the day. If you have questions about how to utilize offloading devices, speak with your doctor.
6. Underlying Factors
A diabetes wound patient must be treated holistically in order to identify underlying issues and reduce risk factors that are causing wounds in the first place. Achieving control of diabetes is difficult but essential, especially concerning blood glucose levels, proper nutrition, high blood pressure, and smoking cessation. Other factors, such as proper footwear and adequate blood supply to extremities, need to be assessed. No matter the level of injury, a clinician specializing in this field should prescribe a diabetic wound treatment plan.
Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.
Can You Heal Diabetic Foot Ulcers Naturally?
Foot ulcers: no one loves to talk about them, but they are a painful fact of life for many people living with diabetes. These complications form as a result of skin tissue breaking down and exposing the other tissue underneath. This can sometimes start small with an irritation, blister, or wound, and can turn into a bigger problem if not treated properly.
There are several different types of treatment for foot ulcers, including antibiotics and other prescription medications. However, these types can be costly and have some unwelcome side effects. Luckily, many people looking to heal diabetic foot ulcers naturally have also found success with ayurvedic, homeopathic, or other natural remedies. Read on for how these treatment options may work for you, too.
Herbal Treatments for Foot Ulcers
Though Chinese medicine and herbal treatments have only recently become popular in Western culture, there are several proven herbal treatments and homeopathic remedies for diabetic foot ulcers. According to Podiatry Today, aloe vera has been shown to decrease inflammation and pain. Aloe vera is also used to treat sunburns, so you can often find it in most drugstores or pharmacies.
WinViVo Healing Balm is a topical ointment that has been shown to help heal foot ulcers. It is made from camellia oil and extracts of tree peony bark, coptis root, and rhubarb root. This balm can be found online or in some drugstores.
Hepar Sulphuris Calcareum, while hard to pronounce, can also help prevent pus in a foot ulcer, which prevents further irritation to the wound.
Using Honey for Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Honesy is typically the natural method for treating foot ulcers that gets the most attention. Honey has many therapeutic benefits, including reducing inflammation and preventing growth of harmful bacteria.
Oftentimes people who wish to use honey as a natural foot ulcer remedy will first clean the area with salt water, and then coat the wound with honey before wrapping in gauze. In a recent study, 12 patients with foot ulcers used honey in this way and were all healed within three weeks. They also reported decreased pain. Honey is especially helpful for people living with diabetes who may have used antibiotics for their foot ulcers before. Since bacteria can sometimes develop resistance to antibiotics, honey can be another healing option.
Other Over-The-Counter Foot Ulcer Treatment
Besides the ones listed above, there are a few other natural remedies for foot ulcers your doctor may recommend. Diabetic shoes, compressions, socks, and wraps may all help keep inflammation at bay, decrease pain, and ease movement. You can read about some of our favorite diabetic foot orthotics here.
Disclaimer: Foot ulcer symptoms may vary from individual to individual. Please consult with your doctor before pursuing any type of treatment.
7 Effective Home Remedies To Heal Open Wounds
Open wounds are a nightmare; not only are they painful and messy, but also take time to heal completely. Not to forget, they leave a permanent mark on your skin. As if this wasn’t enough, one has to ensure that the wound is prevented from getting infected that slows down the healing process. Applying a host of commercial ointments on the wound may or may not help the wound to heal, but some of the kitchen ingredients may work wonders. You heard us! Some of the ingredients that are commonly used in culinary delicacies act as healers or a perfect treatment; thanks to their healing properties. If you haven’t known what these ingredients are, we have your back.These home remedies will help you clean your wound better and ensure it is dis-infected. Make sure you use them regularly to see the best results. Please note, these ingredients work best with treatments on minor wounds. In case of major injuries, please resort to medications under supervision.
Here are some home remedies to ensure quick healing and prevent from getting infection; make sure you keep them handy.
The humble kitchen spice is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic agent that has been used for years for its medicinal uses. As per a study published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, the curcumin in turmeric helps boost wound healing by modulating collagen. If the wound is bleeding, apply turmeric on the wound; bleeding will immediately stop. Also drink a glass of turmeric milk every night before bedtime to heal completely.
(Also Read: 8 Health Benefits of Turmeric (Haldi): Getting Back to the Roots)
The humble kitchen spice is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic agent that has been used for years
Garlic has been known for its anti-microbial and antibiotic properties; that is, it can instantly help stop bleeding, reduce pain and promote healing. In fact, garlic also boosts body’s natural defences against infection. If the wound is bleeding, just apply a few crushed garlic cloves on it.
(Also Read: How to Make Garlic Oil for Natural Remedies: 9 Amazing Ways to Use It)
Garlic has been known for its anti-microbial and antibiotic properties
Applying honey on the open wound helps dehydrate the bacteria from it and keeps infections at bay. Honey is well known for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Apply honey directly on the wound regularly before washing it.
(Also Read: 6 Amazing Benefits of Honey and Cinnamon)
Applying honey on the open wound helps dehydrate the bacteria from it and keeps infections at bay
4. Limestone powder
Limestone powder also known as chuna is commonly used in paan, has healing properties. All you need to do is to take some turmeric and chuna and heat the two and apply the mixture on the wound. This will help the wound heal completely.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that ease the healing process. In fact, its gel has phytochemicals that help ease the pain and reduce inflammation. Cut open an aloe vera leaf and extract the gel. Apply the gel on the wound and let it dry. Clean the area with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
(Also Read: 6 Amazing Benefits of Aloe Vera for Hair, Skin and Weight-Loss)
Aloe Vera has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that ease the healing process
6. Coconut oil
Coconut oil helps ease the pain and keeps infections at bay; thanks to its moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacteria properties. In fact, coconut oil helps prevent scarring as well. All you need to do is to apply this oil on the affected area and cover it with a clean cloth. Re-apply the coconut oil at least 2-3 times a day.
(Also Read: Coconut Oil for Face: 7 Ways to Use it For a Beauty Boost)Coconut oil helps ease the pain and keeps infections at bay
Onion has an anti-microbial compound known as allicin that protects the wound from getting infected. Just blend an onion and honey in a blender and make a paste. Apply it directly over the wound to accelerate healing process.
These handy ingredients are not only effective but also ensure complete healing. All you need to do is to apply them religiously to see the results!
What is a Diabetic Foot Ulcer?
A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that occurs in approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes and is commonly located on the bottom of the foot. Of those who develop a foot ulcer, 6 percent will be hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complication.
Diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the United States, and approximately 14-24 percent of patients with diabetes who develop a foot ulcer will require an amputation. Foot ulceration precedes 85 percent of diabetes-related amputations. Research has shown, however, that development of a foot ulcer is preventable.
Anyone who has diabetes can develop a foot ulcer. Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, and older men are more likely to develop ulcers. People who use insulin are at higher risk of developing a foot ulcer, as are patients with diabetes-related kidney, eye, and heart disease. Being overweight and using alcohol and tobacco also play a role in the development of foot ulcers.
Ulcers form due to a combination of factors, such as lack of feeling in the foot, poor circulation, foot deformities, irritation (such as friction or pressure), and trauma, as well as duration of diabetes. Patients who have diabetes for many years can develop neuropathy, a reduced or complete lack of ability to feel pain in the feet due to nerve damage caused by elevated blood glucose levels over time. The nerve damage often can occur without pain, and one may not even be aware of the problem. Your podiatrist can test feet for neuropathy with a simple, painless tool called a monofilament.
Vascular disease can complicate a foot ulcer, reducing the body’s ability to heal and increasing the risk for an infection. Elevations in blood glucose can reduce the body’s ability to fight off a potential infection and also slow healing.
Because many people who develop foot ulcers have lost the ability to feel pain, pain is not a common symptom. Many times, the first thing you may notice is some drainage on your socks. Redness and swelling may also be associated with the ulceration and, if it has progressed significantly, odor may be present.
When to Visit a Podiatrist
Once an ulcer is noticed, seek podiatric medical care immediately. Foot ulcers in patients with diabetes should be treated to reduce the risk of infection and amputation, improve function and quality of life, and reduce health-care costs.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The primary goal in the treatment of foot ulcers is to obtain healing as soon as possible. The faster the healing, the less chance for an infection.
There are several key factors in the appropriate treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer:
- Prevention of infection
- Taking the pressure off the area, called “off-loading”
- Removing dead skin and tissue, called “debridement”
- Applying medication or dressings to the ulcer
- Managing blood glucose and other health problems
Not all ulcers are infected; however, if your podiatrist diagnoses an infection, a treatment program of antibiotics, wound care, and possibly hospitalization will be necessary.
To keep an ulcer from becoming infected, it is important to:
- keep blood glucose levels under tight control;
- keep the ulcer clean and bandaged;
- cleanse the wound daily, using a wound dressing or bandage; and
- avoid walking barefoot.
For optimum healing, ulcers, especially those on the bottom of the foot, must be “off-loaded.” You may be asked to wear special footgear, or a brace, specialized castings, or use a wheelchair or crutches. These devices will reduce the pressure and irritation to the area with the ulcer and help to speed the healing process.
The science of wound care has advanced significantly over the past ten years. The old thought of “let the air get at it” is now known to be harmful to healing. We know that wounds and ulcers heal faster, with a lower risk of infection, if they are kept covered and moist. The use of full-strength betadine, hydrogen peroxide, whirlpools, and soaking are not recommended, as these practices could lead to further complications.
Appropriate wound management includes the use of dressings and topically-applied medications. Products range from normal saline to growth factors, ulcer dressings, and skin substitutes that have been shown to be highly effective in healing foot ulcers.
For a wound to heal, there must be adequate circulation to the ulcerated area. Your podiatrist can determine circulation levels with noninvasive tests.
Tightly controlling blood glucose is of the utmost importance during the treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer. Working closely with a medical doctor or endocrinologist to control blood glucose will enhance healing and reduce the risk of complications.
Surgical Options: A majority of non-infected foot ulcers are treated without surgery; however, if this treatment method fails, surgical management may be appropriate. Examples of surgical care to remove pressure on the affected area include shaving or excision of bone(s) and the correction of various deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, or bony “bumps.”
Healing time depends on a variety of factors, such as wound size and location, pressure on the wound from walking or standing, swelling, circulation, blood glucose levels, wound care, and what is being applied to the wound. Healing may occur within weeks or require several months.
The best way to treat a diabetic foot ulcer is to prevent its development in the first place. Recommended guidelines include seeing a podiatrist on a regular basis. Your podiatrist can determine if you are at high risk for developing a foot ulcer and implement strategies for prevention.
You are at high risk if you have or do the following:
- Poor circulation
- A foot deformity (e.g., bunion, hammer toe)
- Wear inappropriate shoes
- Uncontrolled blood sugar
- History of a previous foot ulceration
Reducing additional risk factors, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, high cholesterol, and elevated blood glucose, are important in prevention and treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer. Wearing the appropriate shoes and socks will go a long way in reducing risks. Your podiatrist can provide guidance in selecting the proper shoes.
Learning how to check your feet is crucial so that you can find a potential problem as early as possible. Inspect your feet every day—especially the sole and between the toes—for cuts, bruises, cracks, blisters, redness, ulcers, and any sign of abnormality. Each time you visit a health-care provider, remove your shoes and socks so your feet can be examined. Any problems that are discovered should be reported to your podiatrist as soon as possible; no matter how simple they may seem to you.
The key to successful wound healing is regular podiatric medical care to ensure the following “gold standard” of care:
- Lowering blood sugar
- Appropriate debridement of wounds
- Treating any infection
- Reducing friction and pressure
- Restoring adequate blood flow
Additional information is available from the American Diabetes Association.
Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease
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Diabetic Wound Care & Treatment
Immediate wound care treatment is extremely important for people with diabetes, because an infection can lead to serious health problems. Always discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor and /or podiatrist, even for the care of minor wounds and skin cracks. Treat even small wounds as an emergency if you have diabetes. Here are some general guidelines for wound treatment:
- Treat wounds promptly with our recommended signature “Clean, Treat, Protect” process below:
Proper cleansing helps prevents infection and promotes the best possible healing.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before touching a wound.
- If you are caring for a wound that is not yours, make sure to use gloves to protect against disease transmission.
- Stop bleeding by applying pressure to a cut or scrape.
- Clean cuts and scrapes with mild soap & water. Pat dry with a sterile gauze pad.
Antibiotic ointments can help prevent bacterial infection in minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. Follow the instructions of your doctor and/or podiatrist, and the directions on packaging when applying any antibiotic ointment.
Keep an eye out for signs of bacterial infection until a cut, scrape, burn or ulcer is completely healed. These signs include:
- Swollen glands
- Swelling around the wound
- Red streaks leading from the wound
If any of these signs appear, call your doctor immediately.
People with diabetes are also more prone to develop fungal infections. These infections can occur between toes but also in other warm and moist folds of the skin. Signs of fungal infection include:
- Small blisters and scales surrounding the redness.
If you think you have a fungal infection, call your doctor and/or podiatrist for treatment options for fungal infection.
For more serious wounds, your doctor and/or podiatrist can prescribe advanced healing products that may help to further improve the healing process. Talk to your doctor and/or podiatrist about these options.
Inspect the wound every time you change your dressing, and speak to your doctor and/or podiatrist if it does not heal.
Follow these steps for properly protecting a wound:
Identify wound type and size, and select the appropriate primary cover. The dressing should be large enough to fully cover the area that needs to heal. Leave ½ inch of the cover extending beyond the wound to make sure the wound is covered properly. Please check product label and warning before applying a cover. Some covers might not be appropriate for you if you have diabetes.
Select a tape or wrap that fits your needs for gentleness. The right kind of tape comfortably holds your dressing in place without damaging your skin upon removal. Hurt-Free tapes and self-adhering wraps provide the most gentle solutions.
Keep the wound covered at all times to protect it from dirt and germs. Change bandages as directed by your doctor and/or podiatrist.
- If you get a blister, clean it with soap and water, and then protect it with a cover and tape/wrap. Do not break the blister. If the blister breaks, leave the loose skin as a covering over the wound until it heals.
- Do not use over-the-counter corn and callus removers. Talk to your doctor and/or podiatrist about having corns and calluses treated by a podiatrist. Complete healing of even small wounds can take quite some time. Follow your treatment plan exactly as prescribed.
- Do not ignore redness, swelling, non-healing wounds, ingrown toenails, and other foot or wound problems. Bring these problems to the attention of your doctor and/or podiatrist as soon as possible. Early treatment is the best way to prevent further problems.
Following these guidelines and continued adherence to a treatment plan from your doctor and/or podiatrist will help promote proper wound healing.