Did you know that more than 400 million people around the world are diabetic? Hence, it is the most fast spreading non-contagious disease. In many cases of diabetes where the blood sugar level is quite high, foot problems can easily arise.
The forming of diabetic foot ulcers is a gradual process with distinct stages. The sooner you identify it, then you can prevent the ulcer from forming.
Following are the different stages of diabetic foot ulcers:
Stage 0 – The skin remains intact- This is the stage before the formation of the ulcer. At this stage, you may not notice any visible foot wound or foot problems. However, due to your diabetes condition, your feet are at a higher risk of developing wounds and ulcers.
Stage 1 – Formation of superficial ulcer- This is the stage where the problem actually starts. An ulcer starts forming in the superficial layers of the foot. At first, you may notice redness, swelling, and a little Foot Pain around the found wound. Over time, this turns into an ulcer and the symptoms start worsening.
Stage 2 – Ulcer becomes deep- If a stage 1 foot ulcer is left untreated, the ulcer starts spreading to the deeper layers of the foot. It can reach the bone, tendons, and joints. Naturally, the symptoms aggravate. Additionally, having a stage 2 diabetic foot ulcer can make you more prone to developing foot deformities.
Stage 3 – Abscess formation- The ulcer in the foot is an easy target for microbial attack. Microbes can thrive in the area and cause infections in the ulcer. If this happens, pus starts accumulating and abscess formation takes place. The infection can reach the bones and tendons and can cause inflammation. The infection can also travel through the bloodstream and cause osteomyelitis.
Stage 4 – Partial Gangrene- Severe infections in the foot ulcer can lead to necrosis (death of tissues). The early signs of this include formation of a black tissue called ischemia, mostly in the forefoot. Partial gangrene in the foot is thus a severe stage of diabetic foot ulcers and the chances of saving the foot decrease with time.
Stage 5 – Complete Gangrene- The gangrene in the forefoot can extend to other parts of the foot. Eventually, this can turn into complete foot gangrene. At this stage, it is very difficult to save the foot and thus most cases of stage 4 or stage 5 diabetic foot ulcers end with foot amputations. If amputations are not done, the infections can cause sepsis and even have life-threatening implications.
NOTE– Stage 4 and 5 are rare and severe stages of diabetic foot ulcers. A person should undergo medical treatment before reaching such a complicated condition.
So, these are the different stages of diabetic foot ulcers that you should be aware of. Keep a regular check on your feet and make sure you maintain proper hygiene. Good hygiene practices can keep away the chances of diabetic foot ulcer to a great extent. But, yes it is not a sure-shot way to avoid such a foot problem in diabetic people.
What should you immediately do if you are suffering from one of the stages of foot ulcers?
The first thing to do as soon as you notice any symptoms of diabetic foot ulcers is to consult a specialist doctor. Early diagnosis of diabetic foot ulcers can prevent it from reaching the severe stages and the foot ulcer can be cured without any complex procedures.
The earlier you contact a doctor, the less complex the treatment will be. Initial stages of diabetic foot ulcers can be treated through proper hygiene, home remedies, and medications. Your doctor may also ask you to undergo debridement to speed up the healing process. Debridement is a procedure to treat the wound. It involves the removal of dead and infected tissues from in and around the ulcerated region.
However, if none of the above treatment options work, it is better to consider the surgical procedures before the condition deteriorates. And owing to the advancements in technology, the surgeries for diabetic foot ulcers have become a lot less complex and a lot more effective.
The permanent treatment for diabetic foot ulcer
Surgical treatment is the only permanent solution for diabetic foot ulcers. The vascular surgery called atherectomy is most commonly performed for treating diabetic foot ulcers. Sometimes, doctors perform another minor surgery called balloon angioplasty after atherectomy.
Atherectomy is an advanced surgical procedure in which the surgeon uses a rotating blade or makes use of laser energy for the purpose of widening the arteries. The surgical equipment removes the layer of plaque and fat from the inside of the arteries. This makes the arteries wider and facilitates the proper supply of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the foot wound so that optimal healing can be achieved.
The next procedure is balloon angioplasty. Following this procedure after Atherectomy is optional and depends upon the patient’s condition only. In this procedure, the surgeon inserts a stent in the artery. The stent holds the artery open so that blood can flow properly.
The modern surgeries of atherectomy and balloon angioplasty are absolutely safe and are very successful in treating diabetic foot ulcers. There is an almost negligible risk of complications or postoperative problems and you can get rid of the troubles of foot ulcers once and for all.
Due to their effectiveness and numerous benefits, a large number of hospitals offer these vascular surgeries. One such reliable healthcare provider you can consult for the treatment of your diabetic foot ulcer is Pristyn Care.
They are associated with the most experienced vascular specialists in Delhi and other major cities of India and you can trust them completely for your treatment. You just need to book your appointment with one of their specialists near you. Then, you can clear all your doubts and receive appropriate treatment according to the severity and stage of the foot ulcer.
Now that you are aware of the complications that can arise if you don’t tend to diabetic foot ulcer time, start keeping a proactive approach towards your health. You should not completely rely upon home remedies or any kind of self-medication. Doing so without consulting your doctor can put you at higher risks of some side effects. Therefore, take the safe path and follow the treatment recommended by your healthcare practitioner.