If your body’s wound-healing processes function properly, you may not even notice small injuries, like cuts, scratches, and blisters, because they heal so quickly. However, that’s not the case for people with diabetes.
If you’re living with diabetes, you probably know that even insignificant scrapes and sores can intensify into dangerous wounds. Unfortunately, your diabetic wound won’t simply disappear if you ignore it. If untreated, a diabetic wound can lead to life- and limb-threatening infection.
Fortunately, there are effective treatments for these serious wounds.
What Is A Diabetic Wound?
A diabetic wound begins just like any normal wound. It might start as a cut, scrape, blister, or other minor injury. However, unlike normal wounds that heal naturally over a few days, diabetic wounds fail to heal properly.
The complications of poorly controlled diabetes, including slow circulation and nerve damage, prevent such wounds from healing normally. Instead, the skin breaks down further and exposes deeper layers of tissue to bacteria and infection.
As a result, diabetic wounds often lead to abscesses, bone infections, and other severe consequences.
What Are the Most Common Types of Diabetic Wounds?
Diabetic wounds can develop anywhere on the body, but diabetic patients are most vulnerable to cuts, scrapes, and sores on their lower extremities.
Diabetic wounds do occur on the knees and legs, but they’re most frequently found on the feet in the form of diabetic foot ulcers. Given that diabetic foot problems are the most common cause of hospitalization among diabetic patients, proper treatment is essential to long-term health.
Since nerve damage may prevent you from feeling the pain of your diabetic foot ulcer, it’s important to visually inspect your feet every day. If you notice any of the following signs, seek medical care immediately:
Drainage from your foot is staining your socks or leaking from your shoe
- Unusual swelling
- Irritation and redness
- Strong, irregular odor from one or both feet
- Black tissue surrounding a wound on the foot
What Are the Treatment Options for Diabetic Wounds?
Whether your wound is already infected or you want to take extra precautions to prevent infection, the following diabetic wound treatment options can effectively accelerate your body’s healing response.
Diabetic Shoes and Boots
Your doctor may recommend Unna Boots or other diabetic shoes or boots to treat your diabetic wound. Unna Boots are compression bandages designed to provide a semi-solid mold around the foot and lower leg.
The boots apply gentle pressure, but still allow movement, and the medicated paste on the inside of the boots keeps your diabetic wound moist to promote healing and provide protection against infection.
Every 30 seconds, a lower limb is lost somewhere in the world as a result of diabetes.
Amputations are used to different degrees in response to deadly wound infection. This type of procedure is only considered when your healing potential is so poor, and your infection is so strong, that your life becomes threatened.
If your wound is isolated, a partial toe amputation could be enough to remove your infection and protect the rest of your body from harm. Other situations involve partial foot amputations or below-the-knee amputations.
Unfortunately, diabetic amputations can lead to additional complications. Five year mortality ranges from 52 to 80 percent after a major diabetic amputation, and patients who’ve had one amputation are also at risk of needing another.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
Because the circulation problems associated with diabetes slow the movement of red blood cells, important tissues become deprived of oxygen. Without enough oxygen, cells struggle to produce the energy they need to block bacteria, synthesize new collagen, or regenerate and repair after injury. This is why diabetic wound healing slows until it comes to a full stop.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) uses pure pressurized oxygen to replace depleted levels in the body. Since oxygen plays such a vital role in wound healing, HBOT supports ongoing repair in previously non-healing wounds.
HBOT helps your diabetic wounds heal faster. It recruits white blood cells by providing the oxygen they need to effectively kill bacteria, reduce swelling, and allow the rapid reproduction of new blood vessels. When you commit to weekly treatments in an ongoing protocol, HBOT revitalizes the body’s healing process and renews tissues you thought may never recover.
Additional Treatments for Diabetic Wounds
At R3 Wound Care, our wound care specialists offer additional methods of evaluation and treatment for severe diabetic complications, including:
- Active debridement
- Skin grafts
- Bioengineered skin
- Incision and drainage
- Total contact casting
- Transcutaneous Oximetry (TCOM)
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Diabetic Wounds
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a central part of successful diabetic wound treatment. When you trust your diabetic wound treatment to the professionals at R3 Wound Care & Hyperbarics, you’ll benefit from R3’s private setting with the latest hyperbaric technology.
Every HBOT treatment at R3 occurs in a clear acrylic chamber where you can relax, recline, and enjoy a good book or movie. You can hear and speak to your wound care specialist throughout your treatment, and the entire process is painless.
Visit R3 Wound Care today to learn more about this natural alternative healing treatment and its potential to save your limb — or your life!