A wound is any break in the surface of your skin, and wounds on the feet can be especially challenging because they tend to heal more slowly. Not only do you spend a considerable amount of time wearing socks and shoes, but your feet are also subject to substantial stress as you move through normal daily routines.
Anyone can sustain a wound on their foot, but some people have a far more difficult time healing than others. People with diabetes often struggle with foot wounds, partly because the disease robs them of normal circulation needed for the healing process.
Diabetes also causes nerve damage in the feet, a condition called peripheral neuropathy. This can change the sensations in your feet and can prevent you from feeling pain when you step on something sharp or develop a blister or sore. Even a minor cut or blister can quickly worsen and become a dangerous wound.
It’s important to pay close attention to the skin on your feet and perform routine checks for wounds and other signs of tissue damage. If you have diabetes, coming in for regular diabetic foot care visits gives Dr. Cerniglia a chance to check your feet, trim your nails, and perform any other necessary foot care tasks.
Don't delay seeking medical attention if you notice a foot or ankle wound that does not seem to be healing properly. It is far easier to treat a wound in the early stages before extensive tissue damage occurs. A quick diagnostic exam gives Dr. Cerniglia the information needed to construct a customized wound care plan.
Once Dr. Cerniglia determines the extent of the wound, he will share the details of all available treatment options, giving you everything needed to make an informed decision about your care. There are many ways to treat foot wounds, each with a distinct set of pros and cons.
This approach carefully removes dead tissue and improves blood flow to the area. Surgical debridement cuts away the edges of the wound and any bacterial growth. Enzymatic debridement uses naturally occurring enzymes to break down dead tissue.
This approach seeks to change the distribution of pressure on the bottom of your foot, preventing excess pressure from creating or worsening a wound. Boots, braces, or special inserts or shoes can reduce pressure and friction on the wound, giving your body a chance to heal without further damage.
Topical medications are sometimes used to reduce your risk of infection. You may also need oral antibiotics to deliver additional protection from infection.
Skin grafting uses your own skin, animal tissue, or synthetic tissue products to cover the wound and promote healing. Fish skin grafts are one example of this approach.
Your treatment plan is crafted to meet your specific set of needs, and may be adjusted depending on how your body responds. At Ankle and Foot Institute of Texas, a conservative approach is always preferred, seeking to preserve your lower extremities rather than moving quickly toward amputation.
If you or a loved one needs advanced wound care, call the office to schedule a visit, or use the online booking tool.