If you are a diabetic, your doctor has probably instructed you to pay close attention to your feet. They may even have given you specific guidance as to what socks and shoes to wear. All of this is meant to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers, which are serious, deep wounds that can develop if a diabetic develops a blister or sore that goes unnoticed. Sometimes, however, people develop diabetic foot ulcers in spite of having taken all the appropriate precautions. If you end up in this situation, here's a look at how your doctor or podiatrist will treat the ulcers. It's best summarized with the acronym "DOP."
When you first visit the doctor about your diabetic foot ulcer, they will likely perform a procedure called debridement. Through this procedure, they remove a lot of the dead and decaying tissue from around the ulcer. This is necessary in order to allow medications to better reach the living tissue that still has hope of surviving. While debridement may sound like it would hurt, it typically does not since the tissue being removed is dead. However, many doctors will apply a numbing spray to the area before they begin — just in case.
The next step in foot ulcer treatment is to make sure you won't continue to put pressure on the affected part of your foot as you walk. This process is known as off-loading. The doctor may accomplish this by having you wear certain shoes or wear a splint inside your shoe. In some cases, they may tell you to stay off your feet for a few days in order to give the healing process a jump start. Relieving the pressure on the sore allows more circulation to reach the wound, which can speed up healing.
If your foot ulcer is already infected, then your doctor will likely prescribe oral antibiotics for you to take. This will help prevent the infection from spreading any further. If the ulcer does not yet appear to be infected, you may just be given a topical antibiotic to apply to the wound several times per day. Infection prevention is really important not only because it will allow the wound to heal, but also because it will prevent the nearby tissue from becoming damaged.
The acronym DOP can help you remember how foot ulcers are treated. Hopefully you never need this treatment yourself, but if you do, doctors from a practice like Wells Surgical Services LLC are standing by.