Diabetes and Wounds: Caring for Sores
Avoid amputation with the prevention and early treatment of skin sores.
5 Tips for Preventing Foot Sores continued...
And ask when the salon was last inspected by the state, Nazario says. Before treatment, watch to see that the tools are properly sanitized. They should be freshly unwrapped or have just been removed from heat or chemical sterilization -- if it's not clear, ask. If you choose, you could also bring your own nail files.Will you be using a foot spa? Find out whether it's been cleaned and disinfected. "These precautions aren't just for people with diabetes," Nazario says, "They apply to everyone."
Keep your feet from drying and cracking with regular applications of foot cream. You don't need a special cream -- any moisturizer available at your drugstore, like Aquaphor, Cetaphil, and Eucerin, will work.
Use an antifungal cream if you have evidence of athlete's foot (tinea pedis) or other fungal infection. Athlete's foot can make the skin crack and peel, which increases your risk for an infection. Be on the lookout for fungal nail infections, too (nails will look and feel harder, darker, and thicker). See your podiatrist or your doctor about treatment and care.
Avoid fancy footwear
. This means no tight socks and, above all, no tight, pointy shoes with high heels.
"Footwear is probably one of the biggest offenders," says Jeffrey Buehrer, MD, a vascular surgeon and wound care specialist at Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky, Ohio. A well-fitted pair of athletic shoes is often a safe bet, or your podiatrist can work with you to have shoes custom-fitted for your needs -- often at no charge through the Medicare therapeutic shoe program. Brem admits that these shoes may not be the most stylish, "But they will likely save your limb."
Diabetes and Wounds: Getting Timely Treatment
What if, despite your best efforts, you develop a foot sore? "Any break in the skin of the foot is an absolute emergency," declares Brem. "There's no such thing as 'just a little cut.'" Brem's recommendations:
- Put a triple antibiotic cream on the foot sore immediately
- Cover the wound with a light gauze and keep pressure off the area
- See a local wound center within seven days at most