10 Steps to Prevent Diabetic Foot Ulcer

Diabetic Foot

Diabetic foot ulcer is a complication of poorly controlled diabetes. It is an open sore or wound and is commonly located on the bottom of the foot. these few steps would help prevent the development of diabetic foot ulcers/gangrene. A terrible end stage feature of diabetes.

Diabetes isn’t the end of the road. It is very manageable & with proper dietary control & drugs, you will be able to live a normal & long life. The problems come when it is not being properly controlled.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is an endocrine disease of human that is characterized by hyperglycemia, as a result of defects in insulin secretion or action.

Simply put, Diabetes occurs when there is excess sugar (glucose) in your body, because the thing (insulin) that is supposed to remove the sugar has a problem.
There are different types of diabetes notably: types 1 & 2, gestational diabetes. Read more on diabetes here.

What can Diabetes cause?

In diabetics, as a result of this problem with insulin, a lot of things starts to go bad in the body. Due to accumulation of this sugar, a person with diabetes can develop other conditions like hypertension, infections, kidney failure, visual problems which can lead to blindness, or Diabetic Foot Ulcer among other things.

What Causes Diabetes?

Diabetes is caused by a problem in insulin secretion or action (that is, the hormone that is supposed to remove sugar from your body is faulty or not responding).

What Can Make a person Have Diabetes?

Genetics (that is having anyone in your family; Mother, father, etc that has diabetes) is one very important factor that can determine if we can develop diabetes.

How do I know if I have Diabetes?

A person with diabetes, especially in the early stage would usually drink a lot of water, urinate a lot, and eat a lot. This sometimes are normal and hence would not make you suspicious. The best thing you can do, especially once you’ve start noticing changes in the way you drink water or urinate is to go for a test.

What Test can I do for Diabetes?

The test is called Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), or Random Blood Sugar (RBS). Once you see a doctor, you’d be directed on the test to be done and management steps to follow.

What is Diabetic Foot Ulcer?

A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that results from poorly controlled Diabetes Mellitus. It common occurs at the bottom of the foot. It is a common reason for hospitalization and amputation among diabetic patients. It presents with problems such as ulcerations, infections, and gangrene.

diabetic foot ulcer
Diabetic Foot Ulcer

How to Prevent Diabetic Foot Ulcer

You can Follow these steps to prevent development of Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU).

  1. No tight fitting shoes/slippers that part the toes
  2. Have someone check you feet every night before you sleep for unnoticed small injuries.
  3. For any injury noted, no matter how small, please report to hospital for proper care. Do not self-care or just manage the ‘nearest chemist’
  4. When cutting your nails be very careful, better have a trusted person do it, never cut deep. Avoid the commercial roadside nail cutters
  5. Wear comfortable soft-soled shoes
  6. Have someone check your footwear before you put them on. Look for small pebbles or objects that could hurt your feet.
  7. Keep your feet well moisturized. Cracks in your feet could be entry portals for infection
  8. Visual impairment which may follow diabetes also puts you feet at risk. So be more careful
  9. Strict adherence to prescribed medications and diet. Family support is crucial in this regard to encourage compliance.
  10. Regular appointments with your managing team which includes but is not restricted to: Endocrinologist (your sugar doctors), Podiatrist, dietician. A plastic surgeon and Orthopaedic surgeon may come on the team as need arises.

Very Important: in the management of diabetes, Dietary (food) control is the best way to manage this condition. Always eat foods that have been recommended by your doctor & dietician. Avoid the ones that you have been asked to avoid. We understand that this is not easy, but it is possible.

Drugs: Also remember to adhere to your drugs & medications that have been prescribed for you as prescribed.

One more thing. Diabetes isn’t the end of the road, stay safe and protect yourself. If you have close family relatives with diabetes, you would do well to have regular checks on yourself.

Authors

  • Dr. Chukwuma Nwashili is an orthopedic and Trauma Surgeon with the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH). You can follow Dr, Nwashili on twitter with: @rcnwashili

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