Proper wound care is essential for people who have diabetes. Research has shown that people with diabetes are 25% more likely to need an amputation than those without the condition. These patients are more prone to wound infection due to nerve damage and lack of circulation in the feet. The best treatment for diabetic ulcers is to prevent the occurrence in the first place. In some cases, hyperbaric therapy may be a good treatment option.
1. Don’t skip your daily check
People with diabetes need to clean and inspect feet daily. Often, diabetes can cause people to have lowered awareness and feeling in the feet. Because of this, there is a higher chance that problematic wounds won’t get noticed right away. Wash feet daily, dry thoroughly and check for any cracks, blisters, or cuts. People should take extra care to dry feet between the toes and may want to consider using talcum powder.
2. Does the shoe fit?
A well-fitting shoe affects more than just comfort levels. Shoes should be loose enough not to crowd the toes. However, shoes that are too tight can rub against the feet and lead to diabetic ulcers. Some patients may want to consult with a healthcare provider for advice on choosing shoes that fit well. In some cases, a prescription for custom orthopedic shoes may be helpful.
3. Cut bad habits
Smoking is one of the worst practices for overall health. Diabetic foot and wound care are no different. Smoking can decrease circulation, exacerbating problems with the feet. People with diabetes should get a foot examination at least once every year. In between appointments, try to eat a nutritious diet and exercise 3-5 times per week to maintain good health.
When is hyperbaric therapy best?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment where patients breathe in more oxygen than normal in a pressurized environment. For people with diabetes, the therapy can significantly help diabetic ulcers. Research found that without HBOT, diabetic ulcers healed in 24% of patients. With hyperbaric therapy, 38% of people healed fully from diabetic ulcers.
Find treatment options
For some people with diabetes, staying off the affected foot, managing blood sugar, and improving nutrition may help an ulcer heal. In others, additional treatment for the wound may be necessary. Patients can speak with a healthcare provider to learn more about diabetic ulcers and find out if hyperbaric therapy is the right treatment option.