About 15% of diabetics develop diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetic foot ulcers present as open wounds, commonly found on the bottom of the foot. Roughly six percent of people with foot ulcers may be hospitalized due to infection. It is vital that foot ulcers receive prompt and effective treatment. It is estimated that around 80% of amputations start with foot ulcers. Ulcers that have been left untreated can quickly become severe and cause damage to tissue and bone. In severe cases, amputation of the foot or leg may be necessary.
People at risk
All type 1 and type 2 diabetics are at risk of developing a foot ulcer. This risk increases with the use of insulin, tobacco, and alcohol. Studies show that patients with other diabetes-related conditions like kidney- or heart disease are also more likely to develop a foot ulcer. Overweight patients also show a predisposition to developing foot ulcers,
How do they form
There are a number of factors that lead to ulcer formation such as:
- Poor circulation
- Lack of feeling in the foot
- Irritation due to pressure and friction
- Nerve damage
- Bacterial infection
High blood glucose levels may reduce the body’s immune system, therefore limiting the ability to fight off infections. Simultaneously, this may also slow the healing process.
What are the symptoms, what do they look like
There are five stages of ulceration that need to be looked at when determining treatment.
- A normal foot with no open wounds, but which may show signs of deformity.
- A high risk foot that shows partial signs of diabetic ulcer.
- An ulcerated foot where the ulcer reaches tendon or bone.
- An infected foot that shows signs of a bacterial infection like gangrene.
- A necrotic foot that shows symptoms of gangrene.
Ulcers present as circular wounds in the skin, and can vary in size. The first signs of an ulcer forming may be cracked, dry or scaly skin. Alternatively, you may notice a blister, redness or swelling. As the ulcer worsens, it will increase in size, becoming both larger and deeper.
If you see signs of fluid leakage, a strong smell or discolouration, it is recommended that you seek out a healthcare provider.
As always, prevention is better than cure. There are a number of practices that can be implemented to reduce the chances of developing foot ulcers.
- Inspect your feet and legs daily for signs of scratches, scrapes, bruising, and swelling.
- Wear shoes that fit. Ill-fitting shoes may cause pressure and friction. If possible, wear shoes with breathable fabric, like leather, suede, or canvas.
- Consider pressure-relieving insoles to further reduce pressure on the soles of your feet.
- Make sure to address calluses and ingrown toenails quickly to prevent infection.
- Ensure you maintain a balanced diet. Certain minerals like zinc and iron are important to maintaining healthy tissue. A deficiency in nutrients like protein are likely to slow your body’s healing process.
- See a doctor if you are at all concerned. Symptoms to watch out for include redness or swelling in your foot, pain, pus coming from a wound.
- Try to reduce the use of tobacco and alcohol products as much as possible. These factors reduce blood flow, slow healing, and may damage blood vessels.
How can BluLyte Wound Care help?
The main goal with treating foot ulcers is healing the area as quickly and effectively as possible. Depending on the stage of the ulcer, surgical treatment may be necessary. Be sure to consult a healthcare provider if you are unsure of which treatment you should pursue.
BluLyte Wound Care is formulated with hypochlorous acid (HOCl). HOCl has potent antimicrobial properties, killing infection-causing microbes like bacteria. It is perfect for sensitive skin and can be safely used on acute and chronic wounds. The healing properties of BluLyte’s Wound Care speed up the body’s healing process and aid in regeneration of healthy cells.
With HOCl as the active ingredient, BluLyte Wound Care safely disrupts biofilm, a collection of one or more types of bacteria that protect bacterial colonies. The BluLyte Wound Care solution is safe on acute and chronic wounds and can be used on open sores. Unlike antimicrobial agents like Hydrogen Peroxide which are often used in cleaning ulcers, HOCl is non-toxic and non-irritating. Similarly, unlike Hydrogen Peroxide which is not able to decrease the bacterial load in human wounds affected with specific strains like Staphylococcus aureus, wound care solutions like BluLyte that contain HOCl do not have this problem.
There are a few instructions to keep in mind for early stage ulcers where nonsurgical treatments are applicable.
- Remove any previous dressing.
- Carefully wipe or wash the foot to remove debris or clean drainage fluid.
- Spray the affected area liberally with BluLyte Wound Care.
- Soak gauze in BluLyte Wound Care and apply to the ulcerated area for a 10-minute contact period.
- Remove the soiled gauze and the wipe area with clean gauze soaked in BluLyte Wound Care solution.
- Wrap the wound in clean gauze with every dressing. In the event of diabetes or poor circulation, it is advisable to wrap the affected area with a compression bandage.
- If you are treating your wound at home, repeat the dressing changes once to three times per day.
In the event you are consulting a doctor or nurse, repeat the dressing changes as per their dressing schedule.
It’s important to remember that infection is one of the most important factors that affect the healing time of an ulcer. Therefore, good wound care is of the utmost importance. Since BluLyte Wound Care works to kill the bacteria from the outside, it should be used in combination with antibiotics prescribed by your doctor or healthcare provider.
Ulcers that have not progressed to a serious stage will show a quicker healing time. However, healing time is also dependent on a number of factors such as severity and wound size. Some other important factors include blood circulation, pressure, and proper wound care. It may take weeks or months for the area to become properly healed.
Patients who have been regularly treated with BluLyte Wound Care have seen exceptional results and a reduced healing time. You can view testimonials from patients using BluLyte Wound Care on our Facebook and Instagram.
If you would like to learn more about how to apply BluLyte Wound Care to diabetic ulcers, please feel free to contact us.