When Diabetic Feet Get Sick

September is almost here, and with it comes Healthy Aging Month, an initiative to encourage people to work on their personal health as they get older, no matter where they are in life. This is especially important for anyone with diabetes, since the disease affects so many aspects of health—especially as you age. You have to work harder to combat injuries to diabetic feet, since they can lead to infections like osteomyelitis.

Osteomyelitis is an infection in bone tissue that can quickly become deadly if not treated aggressively and promptly. The bacteria gets into your bones several different ways, though one common risk is through an injury—particularly an open wound. Since people with diabetes have a high risk for ulcers, they are especially prone to this condition.

A bone infection is no laughing matter for anyone, but diabetes can make the problem worse. Your body already has an impaired immune system that struggles to fight off bacteria. You have to aggressively treat the bones with antibiotics, and also manage the wound that allowed the problem to develop. This means identifying the bacteria quickly, and seeking the appropriate treatment to avoid amputation of the affected foot.

To do this, you’ll need to take powerful antibiotics for several weeks. If some of your bone tissue has died, you’ll need surgery to remove it and allow the rest of the limb to heal. The wound will have to be cleaned up and bandaged as well. This will mean no weight on the infected foot, and regular dressing changes to ensure that the tissues heal. This does take time, but it’s necessary so that the foot can recover enough to walk again.

Investing in your health as you age helps maintain your quality of life, and your feet need to be a part of that. They are valuable and shouldn’t be taken for granted. If you’re concerned about a potential wound, or think you may have an infection in your feet, let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic know right away. You can reach our Pleasanton, TX, office by calling (830) 569-3338 or by submitting a request through our website.

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