Walking on eggshells: Diabetic foot ulcers
This is the story of a man –whose name and place of residence shall remain undisclosed in order to protect his identity- whom one day discovered that what he interpreted as a miracle had happened to him; he could not feel any pain in his feet or legs. When a wound appeared on the sole of his feet which caused him no discomfort whatsoever, he reached the same conclusion that any God-fearing man in his right mind would have arrived at; it was stigmata. Consider his lower extremities’ imperviousness to pain a gift from a higher power, this man decided to showcase his faith and beliefs in a manner consistent with the nature of the abilities bestowed upon him.
Therefore, he decided to initiate himself in the practice of fire walking. Even though walking on lit embers has more often than not been associated with Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism and other religious persuasions, Christianity is not a complete stranger to it; Eastern Orthodox Christians in parts of Greece and Bulgaria also engage in fire walking. Some people actually thought he was a holy man. After all, how could he walk barefoot over hot embers without experiencing pain? Perhaps it was the fact that any person can walk on burning coals without getting burned. In this case in particular though, our protagonist was a diabetic who had developed neuropathy, and the divine mark on his foot was actually a diabetic foot ulcer (by the way, stigmata is a fraud as well). He was walking on fire when he should have been walking on eggshells.
Diabetic neuropathy is a long-term complication of diabetes in which high blood sugar damages the nerves, rendering them partly or fully unable to perceive foot pain. Diabetic foot ulcers, which the American Podiatric Medical Association estimates 15% of diabetic people develop, can also be caused by poor circulation, foot deformities, and irritation stemming from pressure or friction. As is the case with many medical issues, prevention is the best way to avoid experiencing a diabetic foot ulcer. Diabetics are strongly encouraged to regularly check their feet for signs, not of divinity but of an ulcer, including visible exudate on the sock, redness and swelling, and odor (not of sanctity, but you probably guessed that already). The one symptom that diabetics should not expect is the pain that an ulcer would normally cause, because of the loss of sensation that characterizes neuropathy.
There are certain products, mainly footwear, that help to decrease the risk of skin breakdown in people with diabetes. For instance, there is the Invacare Supply Group Stride-Lite Lycra Carolina Diabetic Shoe, or the Invacare Diasox Diabetic Socks. Diabetic supplies also include skin care products such as creams and ointments. Though ideally you want to keep foot ulcers from ever forming, even if you do get one that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to kiss your foot goodbye – and keep in mind that’s not just a figure of speech either; amputation is a very real consequence of untreated diabetic foot ulcers.
Removing dead skin and tissue is essential for managing a diabetic foot ulcer. This process is known as debridement, and it can be performed with the SoloSite Debridement Gel. Additionally, the foot ulcer may be kept covered and moist (generally considered a wound-healing environment) with the AFM Silver Dressing, which releases ionic silver, known for its proprietary traits. You may also apply medication such as Iodosorb Gel, which absorbs exudate and wipes out bacteria. Finally, you can keep track of your blood glucose levels with Bayer's CONTOUR Blood Glucose Meter and its corresponding tests strips.