Neuropathic ulcers commonly appear on the skin. They eat into the tissue, causing painful, slow-healing scars that can lead to permanent scarring or amputation. The most common type of neuropathic ulcer arises as a complication of diabetes. Reduce the risks of an ulcer and neuropathic pain with these preventative treatments.
Causes of Neuropathic Ulcers
Neuropathy affects the nerves that sense pain or extreme temperatures, as well as the nerves that make muscles contract. In people with diabetes, high blood glucose reduces blood flow to the nerves and causes them to deteriorate over time. Peripheral neuropathy is the most common result.
As nerves deteriorate, they can cause foot deformities. Feet experience more wear in areas like the heel, the pinky, or the big toe. Feet experience repeated stress, but because the nerves don’t carry pain signals the way they should, the stress is allowed to continue. Sores eventually form. Even though the tissues in the feet begin to break down, the patient may not notice because they feel no pain. If it goes on too long, the foot may have to be amputated.
Neuropathic ulcers can range from reddish to brown to black. The edges of the ulcer are well defined and often surrounded by callouses. The wound often contains pockets of infection.
How to Avoid Neuropathic Ulcers
If you have diabetes, realize the danger if you cut your legs and feet. Even small injuries can result in life-threatening infection. Examine your feet regularly and take steps to control your diabetes. Practice the following habits for good health care:
- Check your feet every day, including in-between the toes.
- See a doctor or podiatrist immediately if you see cuts, bruises, or redness you don’t know how to treat.
- Moisturize your feet and legs to prevent cracking.
- Keep your nails trimmed so they can’t scratch nearby skin.
- Wash your feet daily, drying in-between the toes to prevent bacteria.
- Always wear socks and comfortable footwear, even around the house.
- Check water temperature with your hand before stepping into the bath or shower.
Start the conversation
If you develop a foot ulcer, go to the doctor right away. Foot ulcers can take a long time to heal, but the sooner you act, the better your results will be. Fairwood Health and Body Transition helps patients with peripheral neuropathy. Contact us today to see how we can help you be healthier than you’ve been in years.
By Dr. Jason Peisly, DC and John Mark Rankins, CHC