More than 10% of the population in the United States has diabetes, reports the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and many suffer chronic diabetic foot problems.

At Kalamazoo Foot and Ankle Specialists in Portage and Three Rivers, Michigan, Michael Maskill, DPM, and the providers diagnose and treat diabetic foot wounds. To treat and prevent foot ulcers, call Kalamazoo Foot and Ankle Specialists today or book an appointment online.

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What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that develops as a result of uncontrolled high blood sugar levels.

Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which helps move sugar from the food you eat into your cells for energy. Diabetes means your body either doesn’t produce insulin or doesn’t use it efficiently.

Without insulin, sugar can build up in your blood, causing several complications, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetic foot wounds.

How does diabetes affect my feet?

Over time, diabetes can damage the nerves and blood vessels in your feet. This restricts the blood vessels in your feet, leading to poor circulation and making it difficult for wounds to heal on their own.

Nerve damage dulls your ability to feel pain. As a result, you might not realize that you've cut your foot or gotten a blister. This often leads to infected wounds (ulcers) on your feet.

What is a diabetic foot wound?

A diabetic foot wound (ulcer) is an open sore that either heals very slowly or not at all. These wounds can become infected and fester, penetrating the deeper layers of your skin. If you have a diabetic foot ulcer, you’ll probably notice redness, swelling, an unpleasant odor, even drainage in your socks. In severe cases, the tissue in the wound will turn black.

Without proper treatment, diabetic wounds will destroy your skin tissue, exposing the tendons and joints underneath. Those with untreated foot ulcers are at an increased risk of foot and leg amputations and other complications.

How do doctors treat diabetic foot wounds?

Pressure from standing and walking can worsen diabetic wound infections, so it’s important to stay off your feet as much as possible. Dr. Maskill starts with a number of conservative treatments for foot ulcers, including compression wraps, diabetic shoes, and custom-fit orthotics. Treating the infection itself can also require antibiotics and topical ointments.

Most diabetic foot wounds don’t require surgery. Still, Dr. Maskill can relieve pressure from the ulcer by correcting any foot deformities, like bunions, or shaving down the bone surrounding the wound.

If you have diabetes and you’ve noticed sores on your feet that won’t heal, schedule an appointment with Dr. Maskill. Call Kalamazoo Foot and Ankle Specialists today or book an appointment online.

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