A significant complication of diabetes, foot ulcers can develop from nerve and blood vessel damage, trauma, smoking, and infections. Unfortunately, diabetes is a type of metabolic disorder which can interfere with the body’s normal path to healing a wound; mainly due to extended periods of inflammation delaying maturation of new tissue.
Foot ulcers are serious business, and if left untreated can even be precursors to amputation. They are curable and may require surgery, but should be diagnosed and treated immediately. Dr. Elizabeth E. Auger, DPM of Salt Lake City encourages a visit to your podiatrist as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms.
Neurotrophic (diabetic) foot ulcers generally develop on the soles of the feet, at increased pressure points. They may also appear on the side of the foot, or on the tops of the toes – caused from pressure or friction of shoes (or bad circulation). The color of the ulcer may be pink and red, or brown and black – depending on the patient’s blood flow. Foot ulcers are open sores and generally surrounded by calloused skin.
Several symptoms may include tingling, numbness, burning or pain, though you must remember that foot ulcers generally form underneath calluses and might not be felt due to your neuropathy. Watch for swelling, warmth, and discoloration. The wound will be firm and painful if touched. Potentially you may have chills and fever if the condition has gone awhile without treatment. There may be discharge from the wound, with a bit of a foul smell.
People with diabetes should never walk barefoot, must quit smoking, and make every effort to keep their blood sugar under control. Feet should be inspected daily for sores, blisters and signs of numbness. With the loss of feeling experienced with diabetic neuropathy, pain signals may not transmit properly to the brain; an injury can go unnoticed and then become an easy entrance for bacteria and infections.
As a resident or visitor to the greater Salt Lake City region, you never have to put your feet on the ‘back burner.’ When you’re in pain or discomfort, there’s no need to wait for the exam you need right now. As a holistic and compassionate physician, Dr. Auger offers same-day appointments and always welcomes new patients!