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Pressure ulcers are sores that occur when pressure cuts off the blood supply to the skin. Stress caused by the body’s weight and the impact of striking the ground place the ball of the foot, the big toe, and the heel at greatest risk. Left untreated, an ulcer may allow infection to enter your body. If infection reaches the blood stream or bone, your life or limb may be at risk. But with your doctor’s help, your health can be protected. Pressure ulcers can be controlled and even prevented.
HOW DO PRESSURE ULCERS FORM?
Force or friction against the bottom of your foot causes the skin to thicken, forming a callus. IF the skin keeps thickening, the callus presses up into the foot. This kills healthy tissue and causes pain. Unfortunately, you may not notice the pain if you have neuropathy, a health problem that limits how much feeling you have in your feet. AS healthy skin dies, an ulcer forms. Ulcers may progress from hot spot s to infected wounds very quickly.
Red “hot” spots on the skin are signs of pressure or friction. They are a warning that you need to take care of your feet. If pressure is not relieved, a hot spot is likely to blister. Left untreated, a blister can turn into an open wound or a corn (thickened skin on top of the foot) or callus.
If a corn or callus presses into the foot, it destroys inner layers of skin and fat. Cracks and sores may form. These open wounds and ulcers. They provide a way for infection to enter the body. In some cases, dead skin (such as a corn or callus) may cover an open wound, making it harder to see.
If bacteria enter the ulcer, infection sets in. This causes more healthy tissue to die. The infected ulcer may begin to drain. The discharge may be white, yellow, or greenish. Some infected ulcers bleed or have a bad odor. If you develop an infected ulcer, call your doctor right away.
Cleaning the Ulcer.
To assist healing thickened skin around the ulcer may be cleaned away. Medicated ointment or cream may be applied to prevent infection. Sometimes a special dressing is used to help keep the wound dry.
To take pressure off hot spots and ulcers, your doctor may prescribe orthotics. These custom made shoe inserts absorb or divert pressure from problem areas. Special shoes or temporary casts may also be used.
To control or prevent infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Take them al, and take them as directed. IF you stop using an antibiotic too soon, the infection may come back.
IF SURGERY IS NEEDED
Surgery may be needed if infection enters deep tissues or bone. In such cases, your doctor cleans away the infection while removing as little tissue or bone as possible. You may also be given intravenous (IV) antibiotics to fight the infection.
By taking care of yourself, you may be able to prevent pressure ulcers. At the very least, you can reduce your risk of getting one. Try to check your feet daily and to improve your overall healthy. Also, protect your feet by wearing shoes and socks that don’t rub.
Dr. Ahmadi offers the most advanced state of the art techniques for pain-free surgical and non-surgical treatment of any foot and ankle pathology. His goal for each patient is painless and pleasing results with early return to activity.
Dr. Ahmadi offers services in a wide variety of foot and ankle deformities and pathology such as:
- Diabetic Limb Salvage
- Custom Orthotic devices
- Failed Surgeries
- Foot & Ankle Fractures
- Sports Injuries
- Heel Pain
- Nail Disorders
- Ingrown Nails