One of the many negative impacts that diabetes has on a person is causing diabetic foot ulcers to develop. This is often due to the damage that diabetes causes to the nerves and blood vessels of the feet. There are various ways to treat diabetic foot ulcers and it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment can often help speed up healing and prevent the need for surgery. The following are some nonsurgical methods for treating diabetic foot ulcers.
One of the first steps that may be taken to heal diabetic foot ulcers is to have the patient take antibiotics that are designed to help heal wounds. Certain antibiotics are made specifically for injuries or infections of the skin and they work by healing foot ulcers from the inside out. In most cases, the patient takes these antibiotics orally for a prescribed period of time and the foot ulcers are often healed by the time the patient finishes the prescription. However, if the foot ulcer is severely infected, it may be necessary for the patient to receive antibiotics in stronger doses intravenously.
Proper Wound Care
Making sure to do proper wound care while taking antibiotics is also important to ensure foot ulcers heal completely. This involves cleaning the wound regularly with a germ-killing antiseptic medication. If the wound needs to be bandaged during the healing period, it is also necessary to change the bandage regularly to prevent dirt and germs from getting into the foot ulcer and causing further infection.
Wearing custom-made orthotics is another way to treat diabetic foot ulcers. A doctor can have customized orthotics made for the patient that are worn while the patient wears shoes and sometimes when not wearing shoes as well. These orthotics are designed to take pressure off of the foot ulcer which helps it shrink and heal over time. This prevents shoes from rubbing against the diabetic foot ulcer so that it does not get further irritated and begin to swell and become a more severe wound.
Some healthcare facilities have also used hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat diabetic foot ulcers. This is done by having the patient lie down inside an enclosed chamber that is full of pure oxygen. As the patient breathes in the oxygen, this helps speed up the healing process of the foot ulcer because the oxygen in the blood increases greatly and damaged tissues are repaired.