Having a foot ulcer can be troublesome if you don’t take the proper measures. You can find a lot of information about it, but you should know that the healing of a wound that tends to be chronic requires special attention that depends on the cause for which it occurred.
Generally, an ulcer lesion is associated with circulatory disorders, either arterial or venous. It can be related to maintaining a position for a long time that leads to skin rubbing and even being linked to eating habits.
In this FastlyHealarticle, you will find everything you need to know about how to heal a foot ulcer.
Table of Contents
How to recognize a foot ulcer
An ulcer is not just any injury but rather a wound that has the following characteristics :
- It must have a certain depth. It is not a superficial lesion, but the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis and part of the dermis (the layer that continues inwards) must be missing in that sector. In other words, a wound that preserves these layers is not an ulcer.
- A necrotic process should be observed. In other words, the lesion must have been, or there was at some point dead tissue.
- It has a tendency not to heal or scarcely.
Sometimes an ulcer may be covered by a thin layer of a whitish or yellowish substance. It is crucial to determine if it is a form of scarring or infection.
When there is an infection, the lesion will have other characteristics such as pain, redness, heat. And, of course, a condition also prevents healing.
Why do foot ulcers get
There are many known reasons why ulcers appear, although current medicine does not find answers in some cases. Generally, its appearance is associated with a problem in circulation, but as we will see, it can occur in different situations.
Here are the causes of the most common foot ulcers :
The diabetic disease is one of the most frequent today, closely associated with the lifestyle in which there is a significant disconnect between what our body needs and our habits. As a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle, excessive intake of processed foods and refined flours or sugar, and poor sleep habits, how the body metabolizes is altered. This is evidenced by multiple alterations, including an increase in blood sugar.
This disease can improve if you understand the actual cause and work on it, but if you do not take an active stance to enhance, many complications can appear, including prevalent ulcers on the legs and feet.
There are two types of ulcers related to diabetes :
- Neuropathic ulcers. In diabetes, there is a loss of sensation in the skin and other structures, so it is prevalent for the legs, heels, and toes to be damaged without the person noticing. If these traumas are repeated, they are not paid attention to, or the person does not realize they have them, deep ulcers can be generated that can affect the bone precisely because there is no pain.
- Ulcer due to damage to the arteries. Symptoms such as tired feet or legs, cramps, tingling, and pain appear due to poor arterial circulation. Over time, ulcers can develop due to a lack of blood, oxygen, and nutrients reaching the tissues. These ulcers are usually located on the tips of the fingers, between them, or in areas of tremendous pressure (such as the heels). The bottom of the ulcer is usually yellowish or blackish.
In the following article, we explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the diabetic foot.
These injuries have to do directly with blood circulation through the arteries and veins. There is talk of arterial insufficiency and venous insufficiency when the circulation is poor and does not get to fulfill its functions through them.
If it is due to arterial problems, there is usually a lot of pain and difficulty walking. On the other hand, when the problem is at the venous level, the pain may be less, and sensations of numbness, heaviness, and significant swelling of the legs may be experienced.
These occur primarily in people who maintain the same position for a long time, causing their weight to fall on an area of the skin. In the feet and, mainly, in the ankles, they are usually observed when they remain on his side for a long time. The affectation can be very deep and can seriously compromise the health status of those who suffer from it, usually older adults living in residences.
How to Heal a Foot Ulcer Properly
The recovery of an ulcer requires particular care, and it is possible that complete healing can be achieved as long as:
- There is no infection.
- The wound is clean.
- There is no necrosis or dead tissue in the injury.
The latter is very important since necrosis is a dead tissue with no adequate blood supply. That is why there should only be living tissue with good blood circulation, which allows the ulcer to heal.
As for how to heal a foot ulcer. The important thing is to keep the ulcer clean of necrotic tissue, free of infection and, for this, different measures and medications can be used:
This is to keep the ulcer clean and free of dead tissue. For this, it is essential to perform a cure every day.
Depending on the severity of the ulcer, this cleaning may be required by a professional or a person with some knowledge. It isn’t easy to do, but it is essential that whoever does it recognizes living tissue that is not clean.
If there are no bedsores on the lesion, some creams can help in this task. The most used include some of these components: sodium chloride, collagenases, and proteases, trypsin, chymotrypsin, nitrofurazone.
A deeper cleaning must be done when the ulcer already presents with eschar. Ointments are not usually enough, so surgical procedures must clean the ulcer more completely. This will allow the dead tissue to be removed from the wound.
Treat the infection
If there is an infection (redness, pain, warmth, discharge, general symptoms such as fever or weakness, etc.), it is crucial to treat it properly.
If it is a very mild infection, an ointment may be enough and cover the wound with medicated gauze. The drugs commonly used in infected ulcers are nitrofurazone, povidone-iodine, silver sulfadiazine, and mupirocin.
If the infection is more severe, extends beyond the ulcer, or there are already general symptoms of disease, treatment will likely include oral or injectable antibiotics, as appropriate.
It is essential that if the infection is suspected, a medical center is quickly consulted, as it can become a complicated picture.
Granulation and epithelialization
These strange words refer to the healing process, especially the part that arrives with cells and substances that help close the wound and become covered with healthy tissue.
Some ointments and bandages can be applied to promote this art of healing, but you should know that they can only be used when the ulcer is free of dead tissue and infections.
Their objective is to maintain some moisture in the tissue, so they are usually covered with medicated bandages or packed gauze.
The medications that are commonly used are:
- Nitrofurazone and polyethylene glycol.
- Polysaccharide gel.
- Sodium chloride
It is imperative to carry out periodic control of the injuries with professionals who can identify if the ulcer is healing correctly, infections, a deeper cleaning is necessary, etc.
Another aspect to take into account and which is very important is that this healing process will be much faster and more effective if it is accompanied by other measures that improve the person’s health: a healthier diet, eating healthy fats, combining the food properly, regulate sleep schedules and receive support.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to How to cure a foot ulcer, we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair, and nails category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.