Diabetic ulcers are open wounds that most commonly develop on the feet. While anyone can get an ulcer, individuals with diabetes are particularly at risk for them due to poor circulation in the extremities. Approximately fifteen percent of diabetes patients will develop a foot ulcer at some point during their lives. Of these, six percent will need treatment at the hospital due to complications from the ulcer. Diabetic ulcers typically form following a minor injury to the foot. Blisters, small cuts, and scrapes all have the potential to develop into ulcers. While foot ulcers can be painful, many patients with diabetes have trouble sensing pain in their feet and often do not report any pain from their ulcers.
One of the first signs of an ulcer is usually fluid or discharge a patient notices on their socks. The tissue around an ulcer may also be discolored and can even turn black. If not treated, foot ulcers may lead to amputation. Older men with diabetes and patients who take insulin are at a higher risk of developing ulcers. Foot ulcers can be prevented, and all diabetics are urged to see a podiatrist for a yearly foot exam. In addition, the steps outlined below can help with the prevention and treatment of these ulcers.
Wear Compression Socks
Compression socks help keep blood circulating in areas of the body prone to reduced circulatory activity. Patients with diabetes are often encouraged to wear compression socks because they often have reduced sensitivity and circulation in their legs and feet. These socks keep blood moving and can help prevent patients from developing serious medical issues such as deep vein thrombosis and foot ulcers.
In particular, diabetes patients are urged to wear them if they are traveling long distances or if they have to spend long periods in bed while recuperating from an illness. Several sizes and gauges of compression socks are available to purchase at pharmacies as well as online. Patients should ask their doctors about what level of compression would be most appropriate for them. It is important the socks provide adequate protection but avoid being too tight.