All of us deal with minor cuts and scrapes from time to time—grabbing a sharp edge on a cardboard box, for example, or tripping and scraping an elbow. Usually it’s no big deal. Clean it up, put on a bandage, and in a day or two, you’re back in business.
Foot ulcers can be quite different, unfortunately, especially if you have diabetes. Sores may linger for days, weeks, or even months, with limited (if any) improvement. They may, in fact, continue to get worse. What gives? And how worried should you be?
We’ll begin to explain that below, but first we’ll spoil the ending—yes you should be worried, and should book an appointment today.
The soles of your feet are an extremely difficult spot for an ulcer. The first problem is location. The fact that you have to walk on them all day means that the wound is constantly irritated and can’t make much healing progress. (This is why offloading the injured foot is such an important part of wound care.)
The second problem is circulation. Blood is critical in every stage of wound healing. It clots to stop the bleeding. Then, vessels swell to deliver an extra dose of vital nutrients and oxygen to heal the damaged tissue, and white blood cells to fight off infections. But even in healthy individuals, the blood flow to the feet isn’t going to be as strong as it is elsewhere in the body. And if you have diabetes or peripheral artery disease, the amount of blood flowing to your feet is even more restricted.
As a result, foot ulcers can drag on for months. The longer you let them fester, the more likely they are to grow in size and depth—and the more likely they are to get infected. These infections, when serious, can jeopardize the health of deeper tissue and bone. Ultimately, we might need to amputate to stop it from spreading indefinitely.
If you notice a foot wound that isn’t healing, please don’t sit around and wait for it to get better. You might be waiting a long time—and it could cost you a leg, or your life. Check your feet carefully for injuries every day, and report any problems immediately to the team at Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists of Arizona. We offer advanced wound healing procedures to help you recover as quickly and completely as possible. Give us a call (877) 866-2417.