A diabetic foot ulcer is a common complication associated with diabetes. This is an open wound or ulcer that often occurs on the feet and is difficult to heal. Diabetic foot ulcers can be accompanied by infections and other complications and require special medical treatment and care to heal and prevent serious consequences such as amputations.
What are the causes of diabetic foot ulcers?
Diabetic foot ulcers can occur due to a combination of factors that are common in people with diabetes.
Causes of the development of diabetic foot syndrome:
· Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy):
Diabetes can damage the nerves in the feet, which can reduce the sensation of pain. This means that injuries or pressure points go unnoticed and can develop into ulcers.
· Circulatory disorders:
Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the legs and feet, causing poor blood circulation. This slows the healing process and increases the risk of ulcers.
· Pressure points and friction:
Pressure points from tight shoes or friction can damage the skin on the feet, especially if pain is not felt due to nerve damage.
· High blood sugar level:
High blood sugar levels can reduce the body's defenses against infections, increasing the risk of ulcer infections.
· Changes in skin structure:
Diabetes can make skin drier, making it more prone to cracking and injury.
· Foot deformities:
If you have foot deformities such as hammertoes or bunions, this can increase pressure on certain areas of your feet and increase your risk of ulcers.
What are the symptoms of a diabetic foot ulcer?
Symptoms of a diabetic foot ulcer include:
· Smelling discharge from the wound
· Black tissue around the ulcer
· Skin discoloration
Are all diabetic foot ulcers painful?
The type of symptoms that occur with a foot ulcer often depend on the severity and location of the foot ulcer. Not all diabetic foot ulcers are painful. If there is already nerve damage to the foot, this can cause numbness and prevent the wound from being felt through pain. Diabetic ulcers that have become infected are usually more painful than ulcers in their earlier stages. If you notice symptoms of an infection, contact your doctor or podiatrist as soon as possible.
Signs of an infected diabetic foot ulcer include:
· Increasing heat
· Swelling around the ulcer
· Increased discharge
· Fever or chills
· Increasing pain
· Increasing wound strength
· Discoloration of the skin (white, blue or black)
How is a diabetic foot ulcer treated?
One of the most common treatments for diabetic foot ulcers is to relieve pressure on the feet. Aids such as crutches, foot splints or wheelchairs are used to prevent pressure from being exerted on the wound.
Other common treatment methods include debridement and surgery. Debridement involves removing dead or infected tissue from the wound to promote healing and prevent infection.
Surgery is usually only performed to treat severe ulcers and involves the removal of bunions, hammertoes, or other abnormalities that contribute to an ulcer.
Early detection of a foot ulcer is particularly important to initiate early treatment and prevent infection or amputation. Regular foot checks are therefore particularly important for people suffering from diabetes.
How can the intelligent shoe insoles from osentec help?
The intelligent shoe insoles from osentec use tiny sensors to measure the temperatures of the soles of the feet and detect differences from just 0.1°C. The associated app compares the recorded values with each other and sends a message as soon as the temperature differences persist for longer than 48 hours.
What is the purpose of measuring the temperature of the feet?
Elevated temperature values can indicate possible developing inflammation, which can lead to complications, for example in patients with diabetic foot syndrome. In addition to checking your feet daily, several studies have shown the positive effects of regularly measuring the temperature of the soles of your feet. The first indications of this were already in a study by Bergtholdt and Brand in 1975.
The International Working Group on Diabetic Foot (IWGDF) around Prof. Dr. Bus has already included regular monitoring of the temperature of the soles of the feet as a recommendation in their guidelines. Further studies, such as 1, 2 and 3, indicate that over 70% (sometimes even over 90%) of foot complications were detected early through temperature measurements.
The intelligent shoe insoles from osentec can use the determined temperature values to help initiate measures at an early stage and thus react preventively to possible ulcers and wounds.
We would be happy to advise you on the advantages of an accompanying measure using our intelligent shoe insoles. On osentec you will find further information about how they work and how the insoles can contribute to well-being. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and 0395 3511 6213.