Feet take a serious beating in our day-to-day lives. After all, we rely on them to carry us from place to place. So when a foot wound occurs, it can negatively affect your ability to get around. Dr. Janet Ajrouche, DPM specializes in healing and non-healing wounds of both the foot and ankle caused by trauma, diabetes, vascular conditions or pressure ulcers. She is Board Certified in wound care and is affiliated with St. Joe's Wound Care Center at St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor.
Non-healing foot wounds are often a complication of diabetes and can occur in up to 15 percent of those with this metabolic disorder. Some patients may not even see the wound, as they often appear on the bottoms of the feet. However, infected foot wounds account for 6 percent of infection- or ulcer-related hospitalizations.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes can develop sores or ulcers of the feet. These wounds are commonly caused by poor circulation, friction, trauma, being overweight, and alcohol and tobacco use.
Foot ulcers brought on by vascular diseases can decrease your body’s ability to heal properly, which in turn can lead to infection. If you have elevated blood glucose levels this can also make it difficult for the body to fight infections and heal foot wounds.
Since many patients with diabetes have lost feeling in their extremities, pain is not considered a common symptom. The first sign of a foot wound is often the appearance of drainage within socks. You may also notice redness or swelling near the wound site. If there is an infection or if the ulcer has progressed, you may also notice an odor.
The main purpose of foot ulcer treatment is to promote healing and prevent infection. We will recommend taking pressure off the area by avoiding tight shoes and resting. We may apply medication or cover the ulcer with a bandage, if necessary. We will also discuss your blood glucose levels and what medications you are taking and lifestyle changes you have implemented to manage your condition.
Not all foot ulcers are infected; however, if we do detect an infection we will prescribe antibiotics and tell you how to properly care for and treat the wound at home.
See Your Podiatrist
If you’ve noticed a foot ulcer or sore, you need to see your podiatrist for treatment right away. This is particularly important for those dealing with diabetes, as wound complications can lead to infection and even amputation. Your podiatrist’s goal is to improve your mobility and function, heal foot and ankle problems and increase your quality of life.