Expert Health Articles

Diabetic Wounds

Dr. Michael J. Manuel

Medical Director, Wound Care Solutions

If you’re diabetic, you know there is no such thing as an insignificant cut or scrape – especially on your feet or legs. Wounds that heal quickly and without problem for non-diabetic people can become especially troublesome for those with diabetes. In fact, they can become serious infections.

This is because diabetes commonly causes nerve damage that creates a loss of sensation in the lower extremities. This makes it harder to feel cuts and sores on the feet.

Diabetic nerve damage, called peripheral neuropathy, also makes it more likely that you will have problems such as hammertoes, poor circulation and foot ulcers. Diabetes often decreases blood flow to the lower part of the body as well, making it harder for wounds to get the blood they need to heal.

To prevent diabetic wounds:

  1. Inspect your feet every day for cuts, scrapes, red marks and bruises
  2. Wash your feet daily, dry them well and moisturize often to prevent cracking
  3. Wear shoes that fit properly and don’t cause blisters

If you do get a wound, make sure that you treat it properly. Remember that if you’re diabetic, even a small wound can become a big problem.

If you do get a wound, a wound care specialist can help coordinate your care to help you heal as completely and quickly as possible. Depending on the severity of the wound, this may include prescribing antibiotics, monitoring your blood sugar level and helping your wound get the oxygen it needs to heal. Otherwise, the wound can infect deep tissue, bone and lead to gangrene and eventually amputation.

Prevention is best, but if you’re diabetic and a wound occurs make sure to see a doctor.