Diabetic foot ulcers are open sores or wounds that develop as a result of the damage to the arteries and nerves caused due to prolonged diabetes. According to available data, there are around 422 million diabetes patients around the world and diabetic foot ulcers affect nearly 15 percent of them. The incidences of diabetic foot ulcers are known to increase with age and the complications of untreated foot ulcers can be severe. It is also a fact that around 70 percent cases of foot amputations have the factor of diabetic foot ulcers associated with them.
The causes of diabetic foot ulcers include:
Very high blood glucose causing delayed healing
Peripheral Neuropathy due to diabetes
Kidney or heart disorder associated with diabetes
Frequent consumption of alcohol
Diabetic foot ulcers develop with a minor injury to the foot. Following are the signs and symptoms of the development of diabetic foot ulcers:
Swelling and soreness around the wound
Malodorous discharge from the wound
Forming of a black tissue around the wound
Numbness in the area of the ulcer
The skin surrounding the ulcer becomes thicker
Pain when you try to touch the wound/ulcer
Skin remains intact
Development of a minor or superficial ulcer
Deep ulcer reaching up to the bone or joint
Formation of an abscess in the ulcer
Death of tissues in the forefoot
Gangrene spreading to the complete foot
The diagnosis of diabetic foot ulcers may involve the following tests:
Your doctor will ask questions like your medical history, when you first noticed the ulcer, if you have peripheral neuropathy, etc. The doctor will then inspect your foot and feel your pulse to evaluate the rate of blood flow
X-ray examinations are conducted to look for any misalignment in bones which may have contributed to the formation of the ulcer. X-ray images also give an idea about the loss of bone mass, which can lead to problems in the future.
Your doctor may conduct MRI scans to assess the extent of damage caused by the ulcer. MRI scans may also be required to look for signs of inflammation or infection.
Blood tests are recommended when the doctor notices signs like redness, swelling and warmth in the affected foot. Blood tests are conducted to look for infections in the ulcer.
Proper and timely treatment of diabetic foot ulcer is required otherwise serious complications can arise.
Ayurvedic measures can be an effective solution to prevent the foot ulcer from worsening. These medicines aim to control diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels in check so that the foot ulcer does not deteriorate. Some of the best Ayurvedic medicines for diabetes patients are:
Basant Kusumakar Ras
However, it should be noted that these medicines do not treat the already existing wound. Therefore, relying solely on Ayurvedic medicines is not a wise decision.
Debridement: Debridement can be a very effective procedure for treating diabetic foot wounds in the early stages. Debridement is an intervention procedure that speeds up the healing of the wound. In debridement, the doctor removes the dead and infected tissues from the wound using a scalpel. The doctor then places a sterile bandage on the wound which needs to be replaced at regular intervals.
In the severe cases of diabetic foot ulcer, vascular surgeries are required. The most widely performed vascular surgery for the purpose is atherectomy followed by balloon angioplasty.
Atherectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed to make the arteries wider. Widening of the arteries facilitates the proper supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the wound so that optimal healing can be achieved.
In Atherectomy, the doctor uses laser energy or a rotating blade to remove the plaque, calcium and fat layers from the artery. This makes the artery wider and improves blood circulation.
Many a time, Atherectomy is followed by another procedure called balloon angioplasty. In Balloon Angioplasty, the doctor inserts a stent in the artery to hold it open. This ensures continuous and proper flow of blood through the artery.
: Flaxseeds are enriched with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats contain healthy fats that majorly help in repairing blood vessels. Flaxseed oil also keeps arteries flexible and functional. Keeping the vascular system is very necessary for the fast healing of foot ulcers. Therefore, flaxseeds are an amazing remedy to get relief from diabetic foot ulcers.
: Psyllium maintains the insulin and sugar levels in the body. This is a highly recommended herb for the patients of diabetes, especially those who suffer from diabetic foot ulcers.
: Aloe vera is rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.These properties make aloe vera a strong remedy for diabetic foot ulcers. You can apply aloe vera gel on the diabetic foot ulcer to get fast soothing results. You can also have a glass of aloe vera juice every day to boost your immunity and promote the healing of the foot ulcer.
: Honey is certainly a very popular remedy for the condition of diabetic foot ulcers. It has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. These properties of honey readily help in protecting the wound against any infection.
: Coffee stimulates the central nervous system and boosts blood circulation. Thus, coffee acts as a remedy in improving the blood flow and the immune response in the condition of diabetic foot.
Ginseng helps in improving diabetic foot infection. It also prevents the infection from attacking the body. So, ginseng supplements are very effective in curing diabetic foot ulcers.
: Vitamin E is crucial for overall good health. Vitamin E initiates the fast healing of diabetic foot ulcers. It stimulates the blood circulation and improves the body’s ability to stop the infection in the foot ulcer.
: Have more magnesium in your regular diet such as spinach, pumpkin seeds, black beans, avocados, and bananas. Dark chocolate is very helpful in the condition of diabetic foot ulcers.
: Zinc boosts the production of insulin that controls the blood sugar level. It also promotes the fast healing of the skin tissues. Thus, having foods and supplements rich in zinc help in providing you fast healing from the troublesome foot ulcers. Eggs, legumes, and nuts are the rich natural sources of zinc.
There is no particular exercise that you need to follow. You just need to stay active and practice mild exercises regularly. Regular exercise will help you maintain proper blood sugar levels . Exercise also improves the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout the body, thereby promoting faster healing. Just make sure that you do not excessively pressurize your feet while exercising.
Infection in the skin and bones
Partial or complete gangrene
Keep your blood sugar levels in check
Wash your feet with warm water everyday and keep them clean
Keep your feet moist
Trim your toenails properly. Remember not to cut them too short.
Check your feet regularly for any cuts, wounds or blisters
Avoid wearing poorly fitted shoes
Refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol