Foot ulcers can be extremely dangerous for diabetes patients, according to a health expert.

Marcus M. Riedhammer, M.D., Certified Wound Specialist, Geisinger Medical Center, insists that diabetics with foot ulcer need to take extra care. Foot ulcers are open sores that usually develop on the ball of the foot or bottom of the big toe. They occur when repeated pressure is applied to an area of the foot, and are characterized by red, crater-shaped wounds that can range from a shallow crater only involving the surface skin to holes that reach as far as the bone.

Riedhammer said, “Foot ulcers can be painful and can lead to further infections and even limb amputation if they are not monitored or treated correctly.

“Diabetes can cause nerve damage, which lessens a diabetic’s ability to feel when an injury develops, and it can adversely affect circulation and the body’s ability to help wounds heal or fight off infection. “Because of these issues, diabetics are particularly susceptible to developing foot ulcers,” Dr. Riedhammer added.

Dr. Riedhammer suggested checking and washing feet daily and wearing shoes that fit correctly to avoid developing these ulcers.

Also, meeting with a podiatrist can help patients understand their risk for developing ulcers as well, he said. He added that if an open sore develops, one should consult a physician immediately.

Patients can help themselves by removing the diseased skin dressing the affected area. Rest and limiting pressure to the ulcer is very important, apart from taking prescribed antibiotics in the case of an infection. Dr. Riedhammer concluded, “Foot ulcers may seem like a minor issue, but they can pose a serious threat to your health. By checking your feet every day, being aware of the risks ulcers pose and consulting a doctor upon the first sign of a wound developing, the risks and side effects of foot ulcers can be minimized.” Geisinger Health System provides treatment to more than 2 million people throughout 41 counties in central and north-eastern Pennsylvania.

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