Your Wound Care Resource, Part 1

Treating stubborn wounds and sores.

Joy Pape By Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN

So you or a loved one has a stubborn wound or sore. It's too bad that it's not that uncommon to have these when you have diabetes. There are many treatments that can help you. When it comes to treating your wound (sores and cuts), there's no one treatment that works for all. Your health care professional takes many things into consideration.

  • The type of wound. What is the cause? Is it from your shoes rubbing a sore on your foot? Is it from stepping on glass? Is it from poor circulation? Is it a knife cut? Is it from laying or sitting around too much? Is it infected? The list goes on. It is important to know the cause in order to direct the treatment, and to prevent another one like it.
  • The location of the wound. Is your wound on your shin? Your ankle? The back of your foot? Between your toes? The tip of your toe? The bottom of your foot? Where your wound is located has a lot to do with the choice of treatment you will receive.
  • Your overall health. How is your health? What are your blood sugar levels? What is your blood pressure? Cholesterol? How is your circulation? How are your nerves working? Your overall health does affect wound healing.
  • Care available. What kind of care do you have at home? Are you able to reach and see your wound? Would you be able to perform necessary treatments? Do you live with someone who can help you? Or will you need someone to come over and help, such as a loved one, friend, or home health nurse?
  • Cost. There are treatments that don't cost much at all, and then there are some that are very expensive. Do you have insurance? If not, how will you be able to pay?
  • Comfort. If your wound is painful, you will need medicine to help relieve your pain. If your treatment will be painful, you may also need some medicine before your treatment.

Before I explain some types of wound treatment, it is important you understand the importance of seeing a health care professional if you have any type of wound on your legs, feet, or toes, and if you have diabetes. This is a very dangerous combination! That is not to say your wound won't or can't heal, but you have a higher risk that it may not, and a higher chance for more problems, such as an infection or amputation, than someone who does not have diabetes. Please do not try any of these treatments (other than improving your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol) on yourself or a loved one, unless your health care provider has instructed you to. You may cause more harm than good.

Preparing Your Wound for Treatment
1. Get and keep your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol as near normal as possible. When your blood sugar is high, it can affect wound healing. High blood sugars can impede healing, and increase the chance of your wound becoming infected. High blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol affect your nerves and circulation. Nerves and circulation affect wound healing.
2. Learn all you can about diabetes foot care basics. And, don't just learn about it, but do it. Following these steps can help you keep your feet for a lifetime.
3. Get the pressure off. If your wound is from laying or sitting in one position too long, it is called a bedsore. It is important that you get the pressure off the area so it can heal. You will need to move or be turned often, and use a pressure relieving device in your bed or chair to take the pressure off the area. If it is from your shoes rubbing, you will need to wear shoes that don't rub the area. And, if your wound is on the bottom of your feet, you will most likely need to stay off of your feet for some time to allow your wound to heal.

I will discuss more specific wound care next time. For now, think of the above as both prevention and treatment. Had these measures been in place, you may never have gotten a wound. It's not too late though, your wounds can heal, and you can prevent more by knowing and doing these steps. Also, don't forget…if you have a wound (sore) on your legs, feet, or toes, call your health care provider right away!

EnJOY! your feet for a lifetime.

Read Joy's bio here.

Read more of Joy Pape's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

NEXT: Your Wound Care Resource, Part 2

Last Modified Date: July 08, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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