Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Diabetic Foot Ulcers

A Patient’s Guide to Understanding Your Care

 

OVERVIEW

If you are reading this, you likely have or know someone who has a diabetic foot ulceration (DFU).  I have been treating DFU’s for the past 30 years and have given many lectures to both professionals and patients to help increase their understanding of these, often complicated wounds.

I present here, some commonly used terms in wound care to define what they mean and give a brief overview of the general care and treatment of a wound.

I know that when patients have a better understanding of their wounds and their treatment plan, they are far more likely to comply with the care plan needed to promote quick healing.  Open wounds carry a risk of infection and possible hospitalization, so it is always beneficial to get them to heal as quickly as possible.

This is not a guide to the healing of any particular wound.  With regard, to healing your particular wound, nothing takes the place of an in-person consultation so that every aspect of the wound and the patient can be considered to create an effective care plan.

I have learned that every ulcer is unique in that each one requires its own care plan of treatment —that is what makes them unique, not their appearance or their location or their size or any other factor.  The care plan, however, is not the end all.  In fact, the care plan may well change at each visit depending on the progress of the wound.

The patient should not be a passive observer in the process.  Ask questions, clarify instructions and be honest in speaking with your doctor about what you’re able to do in helping heal the wound. If you can’t reach it or see it and have no one to help you with that you need to speak up!  There is help available in the form of Home Health Care for those patients who need help in caring for wounds.

ULCER TERMS:

  • Ulceration – A break in the skin of any type.

Note also that when a particular area on the foot has had an ulceration in the past, it is often still referred to as an ulceration that is “Grade 0” or a “previously ulcerated site” long after it has healed because it has the potential to re-ulcerate again.

  • Diabetic Foot Ulceration (DFU) – Typically a pressure ulcer on the bottom of the foot but really any open wound on the foot ankle of a patient with Diabetes.
  • Decubitus – Special name for a pressure ulceration typically found on the back of the heel. Term is also used for bedsore ulcerations on buttocks area of bed confined patients.
  • Venous Stasis Ulceration (VSU) – An ulceration related to Vein Dysfunction (poor blood return to the heart), Typically occur on the medial (inside) portion of the ankle or lower leg.
  • Arterial Ulceration – Ulceration due to Arterial Disease (poor blood supply to the foot), typically seen at the tips of the toes but can occur anywhere.

ULCER DRESSINGS/BANDAGES/TOPICALS

  • Unna Boot – this is a medicated roll bandage that is put on the from the base of the toes up to just below the knee. It is wet when it goes on and usually stays moist until it is removed.  It is covered with cast padding and an ACE wrap or Coban to hold it in place.  Commonly used for VSU’s
  • Hydrocolloid – Such as Cutinova or Duroderm is a gummy type of dressing applied directly on the wound to provide a moist wound environment. Often used on wounds on the bottom of the foot.
  • Medihoney – Surgical honey. Honey has been used since the Egyptions for wound healing. It is applied directly onto the wound.
  • Alginate – “Angle Hair” A specialty dressing that helps to absorb and contain drainage from a wound. May have silver or collagen in it as well.
  • Bacitracin – Topical antibiotic ointment or cream used directly on a wound
  • Triple Antibiotic – Topical antibiotic ointment or cream used directly on a wound
  • Gentian Violet – Liquid topical used directly on or around a wound as a drying agent. Leaves a purple stain where it is applied.
  • Hypafix Tape – Brand name of a particular tape that is far superior to paper tape for adhering dressings. Is breathable and flexible and tends to work well with fragile skin
  • Coban – Stretchy ACE bandage type of dressing that adheres to itself
  • H-Bandage or Knuckle Bandage – “H” shaped bandage with two tabs on each end. Works very well for areas that are hard to get a typical band-aid to adhere to.

CARE BASICS:

Physician Responsibility

  • Evaluation – A thorough examination is the first step in treatment to determine the type of ulceration and establish a care plan to include testing of circulation and nerve function.
  • Testing – Appropriate testing based on clinical exam which may include: X-rays, Blood Tests, Vascular Testing, Sensory Testing
  • Collaboration –  As needed with other care team specialists which may include: Home Health Care, Vascular Surgeons, Endocrinologist, Primary Care, and/or Infectious Disease

Patient Responsibility

  • History – Providing a complete health and ulcer history. If patient is unable to provide it, having someone at visit to help with that recall.
  • Understanding – Listening and asking questions about what caused the wound and what needs to be done to get it to heal.
  • Participation – Making and keeping appointments. Actively trying to control their Diabetes. Completing home care as directed and reporting problems.
  • Follow-up – After the wound has healed, understanding what needs to be done to keep the wound closed and what needs to be done to prevent it or others like it from coming back again.

CARE PLANS:

  • Typical Office Visit – Involves inspecting and treating the wound at each visit and reviewing what has happened since the last office visit. Photographs are often used to help monitor the wounds progression.
  • Debridement – Is the term used for removing the dead or non-viable tissue from a wound to help promote healing. Not every wound needs to be debrided at each visit. There is sometimes bleeding of the wound when they are debrided.
  • Care Plan – This is the patient instructions on what to do until the next visit. It typically covers how to care for the wound (dressings, frequency, etc.), what home/work activities are allowed, and instructions about weight bearing.
  • Advanced Therapies – There are many ways to treat wounds. Cost-benefit needs to be considered with all therapies. Not every therapy is appropriate for every wound. Many wounds heal with a normal progression once professional treatment is started.  Slow healing wounds have a high priority for advanced therapies. The types of advanced therapies available are enough to fill an entire separate blog on that issue.
  • Antibiotics – Every open wound is not infected. If there are signs of an active infection oral antibiotics are prescribed.  In severe cases of advancing infection, IV antibiotics and/or hospitalization are frequently needed.
  • Home Health Care – Is available in certain cases where the patient is unable to perform the wound care or may not be able to come into the office as often as needed for care.
  • Follow-Ups: Frequency of follow-up visits depend on the type of wound and the progress it is making. Active wounds often require weekly visits
  • Referrals – Patients may need referrals to other providers to help in the diagnosis or treatment of their ulcerations. That may include procedures to aid in the treatment of the ulceration such as vascular surgery or testing such as MRI or CT that cannot be done in the office.

Don’t Live Life in Pain! Call us today for an appointment at 505.880.1000. We take care of your feet…so that they’ll take care of you!

Gerard J. Kerbleski, DPM, FACFAS

#topdoctors   #bestABQfootdoctors   #nmfai   #wesavesoles #footdoctors   #podiatrist   #covid19 #keepyourappointment   #keepyourfeet #NDAM   #DiabetesAwarenessMonth   #diabetes   #feetmatter   #TodaysPodiatrist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy “Dogs” while Walking & Hiking

Happy “Dogs” while Walking & Hiking

Happy “Dogs” while Walking & Hiking

Walking and Hiking

Dr. Janet Simon

Dr. Janet Simon

With limited activities due to COVID emergency, many New Mexicans are hiking and exploring outdoor trails. We are obviously blessed with these opportunities to get out and enjoy the natural world. The term “dogs” has dual meaning here – 1) feet, often referred to as dogs in the early 20th century and 2) canines. While walking and hiking both “dogs” need to be prepared and protected from injuries and overuse.

As a podiatrist, I am often asked for recommendations on sock and footwear choices. Having properly fitting socks is important along with shoe/boot fit. Sock fit is often overlooked and from what I’ve recently observed on the trails sometime absent for a few newcomers to hiking. A synthetic blended sock is recommended over 100% cotton and I advise individuals that the thickness is a personal choice. Obviously, when purchasing new shoes/boots try them on with the thickness of sock you’re planning on using.

Shoe/boot choices are dependent on the type of walking/hiking. My observations on the Sandia trails are that experienced participants have “proper” shoes and the less experienced have footwear that I know will be bringing them soon into my office for foot problems. I’m not totally opposed to walking sandals on paved trails but do not feel they’re appropriate on rocky, cactus laden trails. Using a boot that provides increased ankle support will be beneficial especially if you’ve had history of ankle sprains, posterior tibialis tendonitis or overpronation.

Not only are humans out on the trails but their dogs too and it’s clear that many dog owners have not given much thought about their dogs paws or other wellness concerns on the trails. Recently, I’ve witnessed many small dogs being carried on trails that clearly were not appropriate for them to be on. Furthermore, their paws need to be conditioned for longer distances, as well as, their joints and muscles too.

Dogs do feel pain and unlike humans cannot complain vocally. Similarly, to what was stated about matching up the type of footwear to the difficulty or type of trail, matching up your dog is wise too along with providing booties or applying Musher’s wax to their paws. Dog’s “dogs” need protection too.

Additional advice that veterinarians share is making sure your dog is current on their vaccinations and well hydrated and nourished. Our Sandia trails require dogs to be leashed and I will opine that this is not only safety for others but also for your dog to stay on the trail and hopefully away from cacti.

Summing up – being safe during your walks/hikes is the message for both you and your “dogs”. My office is open and if concerns arise about human feet/ankles please call. We can see you in person or schedule a virtual visit. If your dog is having paw or other problems, please contact a veterinarian.

Don’t Live Life in Pain! Call us today for an appointment at 505.880.1000. We take care of your feet…so that they’ll take care of you!

Janet Simon, DPM

 

#westandopen #topdoctors #bestABQfootdoctors #nmfai #wesavesoles #footdoctors #podiatrist

 

Warts….Verruca Vulgaris

Warts….Verruca Vulgaris

Warts….Verruca Vulgaris

Verruca Vulgaris! No those aren’t fighting words but the medical term for warts.  When I was in school I did a presentation on Warts and gained an increased appreciation of them.   One article I read stated that 50 percent of warts resolve in 2 years without any treatment.  When I read that I was skeptical, most of the warts I had seen had been around for longer than 2 years and were nowhere near resolving.  I tested this theory out on myself.  After more than two years I have a study with a sample size of one that refutes that claim.  After your wart doesn’t go away without treatment there are several ways to treat them.

These treatments range from duct tape (needs to be silver) to surgical removal and even LASER.  These treatments have two ways to help remove warts.  The first is destruction of the wart.  The second is cueing the body to attack the wart.  This is related to that study that didn’t pan out for me.  The immune system is the best treatment for warts, but sometimes it needs a little help recognizing what’s foreign.  There is even one treatment that injects bacteria into the wart so the body will attack it.

If you think you have a wart, take a picture of it.  Then look for these two things to make sure it is a wart.  1. The skin lines (like finger prints) will be interrupted at the edge of the wart.  2. Pinpoint bleeding, which is the little dark spots in the middle of the wart.  After you have identified it’s a wart go after it with your preferred treatment, then if it doesn’t work come see me in the office.

Don’t Live Life in Pain! Call us today for an appointment at 505.880.1000. We take care of your feet…so that they’ll take care of you!

Mark Tenny, DPM

#topdoctors #bestABQfootdoctors #nmfai #wesavesoles #fifteenyearsstrong

Mother’s Day Nagging Neuroma

Mother’s Day Nagging Neuroma

Mother’s Day Nagging Neuroma

Neuromas are a painful condition that affects the ball of the foot.  It is worse with tight shoes and barefoot usually. Sometimes people get radiating pains out into the toes and sometimes they just feel like they are walking on a lump of something.  Many folks get a nagging soreness that just doesn’t want to go away.  My mother suffers from a nagging neuroma that doesn’t really hurt, but is sore most days.  She isn’t in pain but isn’t excited to go for a walk or do much shopping.  She has switched her shoes and now wears wider shoes even to church.  She doesn’t complain much but it is obviously still an issue.   I recently mailed her some orthotics with a special pad for the neuroma which also helped a little but she continued to have soreness with walking and standing too much.  This weekend she happened to be in town visiting family and we discussed options at length.  No one wants a shot in the foot but sometimes the inflammation just won’t go away with the other small things we do to get rid of the problem.  She kept justifying that it isn’t very painful and it probably doesn’t need an injection but it isn’t getting better and she really isn’t pushing this at all and isn’t really walking a lot.  After some gentle pushing she agreed to an injection for her pain.  It doesn’t sound like a great Mother’s Day gift but if it completely cures her problem I will count it as one of the best gifts I could give her to keep her walking and healthy.  We casted her for some custom orthotics and I’ll make her a great device to slip in her shoes and keep that nagging neuroma from ever coming back.

Don’t Live Life in Pain! Call us today for an appointment at 505.880.1000. We take care of your feet…so that they’ll take care of you!

Call Now Button