Treating and Preventing Diabetic Foot Ulcers
From checking blood pressure to staying active and going to doctor appointments, diabetes requires a lot of management to reduce the risk of developing heart failure, stroke or kidney failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately half of diabetics also experience some kind of nerve damage, which can cause patients to lose feeling in their feet. For Arkadelphia resident and pastor James Langley, nerve damage and the inability to feel pain eventually led to foot ulcers.
“Diabetes — I had calluses grow on the bottom of my feet,” Langley said. “I feel very fortunate that I discovered the problem when I did, because out of all the tragedies it would’ve been more tragic if I had not come to get help with this.”
Foot ulcers account for 80 percent of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations, so treating and preventing infection is vital. Still without pain, Langley puts his best foot forward with weekly cleanings at the CHI St. Vincent Wound Care Center in Hot Springs.
“The quicker we catch this, the smaller the wound, the better it is,” said Wound Care Center Director Dr. Robert Kleinhenz. “It starts out with basically a break in the skin and then that skin forms an ulcer and that ulcer can actually deepen.”
Small problems can become serious if they aren’t treated early, but daily care is one of the best ways to prevent foot complications. Dr. Kleinhenz offers a simple, yet effective routine for diabetics to keep their feet healthy.
“They need to always make sure they check their feet several times a day when they get up in the morning and when they go to bed in the evening,” he said.
To learn more about managing diabetes and local resources to help, visit: chistvincent.com/diabetes