People with diabetes can develop foot pain and foot ulcers. For a diabetic, simple nicks, scrapes, and cuts that go unaddressed can lead to a medical emergency. This becomes even more challenging for seniors, as motor skills and balance may lead to injuries and make it less likely that wounds are seen or tended to.
Foot ulcers are open sores that develop when there is a breakdown of skin, exposing layers underneath. A common first sign of a foot ulcer is discharge of fluid which may be noticed on socks or shoes. Swelling, redness, irritation, and odors can also be early symptoms of a foot ulcer.
If a foot ulcer becomes serious, eschar (black tissue) may be visible around the ulcer. Infections and gangrene can develop which makes the wound incredibly difficult to heal. It can also result in pain, numbness, and malodorous discharge.
Foot ulcers are a common complication of diabetes and are caused by poor circulation, nerve damage, and high blood sugar. Poor circulation is when blood isn’t circulating through the body efficiently, and this affects blood flow to the feet. Unfortunately, poor circulation can also make healing more difficult for ulcers. High blood-sugar levels can impede the healing of ulcers as well, so glucose level management is vital for diabetics. Nerve damage minimizes sensitivity to foot pain, resulting in wounds that go unnoticed and cause ulcers. Dry skin can be another concern for diabetics, as dry feet may be more likely to crack.
Foot ulcers are one of the most common problems in diabetic seniors. Here are some tips to help prevent them:
- Wear socks with properly-fitted shoes.
- Maintain proper foot hygiene.
- Keep feet moisturized and hydrated.
- Stop smoking to improve blood circulation.
- Monitor blood sugar levels consistently.
Foot ulcers are a critical concern that skilled nursing providers need to watch out for in diabetic Senior Care. If a foot ulcer is present, proper care is important. Foot ulcers become more complicated if they become infected. It’s helpful for the patient to stay off of the foot. Pressure from walking and even standing can exacerbate the ulcer. Debridement is a procedure that removes dead or infected skin from the ulcer. Disinfecting the skin around a foot ulcer is also appropriate. Antibiotics may be used if the foot ulcer is infected and x-rays may be ordered if the physician suspects there may be infected bone.
Foot ulcers are treatable when discovered early on. So, inspection of the feet for senior diabetics is a critical component of foot hygiene. See a doctor as soon as possible if a wound develops on the foot, as complications are more likely to develop as time goes on. Infections that become unmanageable may result in amputation.
ClearPath is a provider of Home Health Care Services in Akron, Ohio, and offers superior wound care for foot ulcers as well as other wounds. We provide attentive dressing changes, wound vacs, and state-of-the-art therapies with tissue regeneration. We have a team of Skilled Nursing providers in Ohio offering a wide range of home health care services. To inquire or learn more, visit our website or contact us at 877-892-1568.