The Different Stages of Foot Ulcers
Prompt wound care is essential in halting the progression of skin breakdown. Foot ulcers are also known as pressure ulcers or stasis ulcers, and are common for people living with Diabetes. When you have diabetes, you may have a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. This can cause a loss of sensation in your feet, so when a small sore develops, you may not notice it.
Stage I foot ulcers mean that your skin is still intact, and remains unbroken. The area surrounding the ulcer may appear purple, blue, red, or white. While a Stage I pressure ulcer doesn’t usually cause permanent damage, if left untreated, it can quickly progress to the next stage. Treating a Stage I foot ulcer includes keeping the affected area clean and dry, keeping pressure off the area, maintaining a healthy diet, and staying well-hydrated.
Stage II pressure ulcers indicate impaired skin integrity. The ulcer and surrounding area may appear very red, irritated, swollen, and may also cause pain. When a pressure ulcer causes a break in the skin, you may be at risk for developing local and systemic infections. Your skin is your body’s first line of defense against infection, and when your skin becomes compromised, harmful microorganisms can enter your bloodstream.
A Stage III pressure ulcer on your foot causes even more extensive tissue damage than a Stage II foot ulcer. Stage III foot ulcers take on a crater-like appearance, and a purulent drainage may seep out of the ulcer as well.
A Stage IV foot ulcer causes extensive skin damage, and may even destroy the underlying muscle and bone. Stage IV foot ulcers are difficult to treat, and as a result, surgical debridement may be necessary to promote healing.
While keeping your diabetes under control helps reduce the risk of foot ulcers, it is no guarantee that ulcers will not develop. Check your feet everyday for any wounds or changes, and if noticed, visit your podiatrist. Also, never attempt to trim your own toenails, because if done incorrectly, you can get injured or develop an infection. Your podiatrist can safely cut your nails so that your skin stays healthy and intact. To learn more about wound ulcers and diabetic supplies, contact us anytime.