Dr. Tip – Foot Ulcer, Prevention and Treatment

Dr. Steve Norman, specializing in Podiatry at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Wound Care Center offers the following information on the prevention and treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.

If you have diabetes, you may have reduced nerve function due to a condition called peripheral diabetic neuropathy.  This condition causes the nerves that carry the sensation of pain from your feet to your brain to not function properly.  This lack of sensation may cause a small cut or scrape on your foot develop into an ulcer without you feeling the symptoms.

Here are some ways you can prevent a foot ulcer are:

  • Inspection – Check your feet every day. Check for cuts, blisters, calluses, red spots, swelling and other abnormalities.
  • Protection – Keep your feet clean by washing them every day. This will help defend wounds from becoming infected.  After washing, be sure to dry your feet thoroughly and apply lotion to prevent cracking.
  • Prevention – Try to keep your blood glucose levels within normal range. Elevated diabetes blood glucose levels can cause uncared foot ulcers to develop gangrene which can eventually lead to loss of limbs.

If you already have a foot ulcer you can try:

  • Keeping the ulcer dry and covered with a dressing
  • Maintaining proper blood glucose levels, this will facilitate healing
  • Applying topical ointments
  • Do not walk on the ulcerated foot excessively
  • Wear socks with extra padding and a loose-fitting soft shoe with laces or Velcro fasteners

“Advanced foot ulcers may require wound debridement, which is a process that carefully removes dead tissue,” stated Dr. Norman. “You want to make sure consult a physician before your wound/ulcer becomes so advanced that you may be faced with amputation.”

If you are suffering from a chronic or non-healing wound, you may be a candidate for Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Wound Care Center.  The center is open for outpatient appointments Monday through Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm.  For more information, or to make an appointment, call 718-670-4542.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.