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Although you may not realize it, a wound on one of your feet can be one of the most challenging to heal. When you’re on your feet for much of the day, putting your feet under stress makes healing more difficult. Plus, your socks and shoes can interfere with the healing process.
Wound care on your feet is especially important when it comes to people with diabetes. The disease often causes nerve damage to the feet, called peripheral neuropathy, which affects what you can feel — so you may not notice an injury or experience pain when you step on a sharp object. A small wound can fester and become a big problem quickly.
Dr. Matthew Cerniglia and the expert team at Ankle and Foot Institute of Texas have plenty of experience with wound care, especially for diabetics. Here are four effective advanced treatment options we typically use when treating wounds on the feet that just aren’t healing properly.
If the wound on your foot is showing signs of infection, a topical ointment covered by a bandage and, if needed, an oral antibiotic are good methods to fight the infection by killing the bacteria causing the problem.
This treatment strategy, referred to as offloading, takes the pressure off the area where you have the wound, giving it time to heal. Dr. Cerniglia can accomplish this goal by recommending braces, boots, special shoe inserts, or even special shoes to redistribute the pressure away from the wound.
The idea behind debridement is to remove the dead tissue from the wound to improve blood flow to the area and speed up the healing process. Dr. Cerniglia may use a surgical tool to cut away the edges of the wound, or enzymatic debridement uses naturally occurring enzymes to break down the dead tissue without cutting.
Skin grafts are another approach to cover the wound to speed the healing process. The donor grafts can come from several places, including your own skin, animal tissue, or even synthetic tissue.
Once the graft is in place, it takes on the characteristics of the missing skin layer, adding protection where it’s needed so the deeper layers of skin can heal. These grafts can be performed without surgery right in the doctor’s office.
It’s important to take care of your feet. Wash them every day, choose shoes that are supportive and comfortable, and wear clean socks. When you need a little extra help, Dr. Cerniglia provides routine foot care to patients of all ages.
Even if you don’t feel pain in your feet, you should regularly check them or have your doctor check them for any foot problems, including wounds that aren’t healing properly. Treating a wound in the early stages is more effective and less painful than if you wait until more extensive damage occurs.
If you have a foot wound that’s beyond your capability to care for yourself or if the wound just isn’t healing, our expert team at Ankle and Foot Institute of Texas is happy to help. Just call our office in Fort Worth, Texas, or book an appointment online.