If you’re living with diabetes, you’re also at a higher risk of developing an open wound or ulcer. In fact, research suggests that 15% of people with diabetes will develop an ulcer at some time during their life. At Downstate Foot & Ankle Podiatry in Fort Greene, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Brownsville, and Bedford Stuyvesant, in Brooklyn, New York, Bryan Makower, DPM, and Loretta Cacace, DPM, provide innovative treatments for venous, ischemic, and neurotrophic ulcers. Make an appointment today by calling or clicking the online booking tool.
Leg and foot ulcers are two types of open wounds that typically develop on the lower extremities like your legs and feet. Unlike other cuts and scrapes, leg and foot ulcers can take weeks or even months to heal. In some instances, they never heal, and can potentially lead to limb loss. All foot and leg ulcers are similar in nature, but treatment varies depending on the underlying cause.
In most cases, leg and foot ulcers form as a result of poor circulation. When there’s reduced blood flow to your legs and feet, it deprives your skin and other tissues in the area of oxygen and vital nutrients. Without access to oxygen or vitamins, these areas become inflamed and an open wound starts forming.
At Downstate Foot & Ankle Podiatry, the team treats three different types of leg and foot ulcers:
Venous ulcers occur because of damage to your veins. Your veins are responsible for carrying blood from other parts of your body to your heart. If your blood doesn’t pump correctly, it can pool in your veins and cause swelling. Over time, this prevents adequate blood flow to your legs, and ulcers begin to form.
Arterial ulcers, also known as ischemic ulcers, occur because of blocked arteries. Your arteries help deliver oxygen and nutrients to the tissues throughout your body. If one or more arteries become blocked, nutrient-rich blood is unable to flow to your extremities, and an ulcer may form.
Neurotrophic ulcers, or diabetic ulcers, occur as a result of nerve damage. Diabetes, history of chemotherapy, low back pain with nerve impingement and many other disease processes can result in reduced sensation. Reduced sensation can put you at risk of ulceration or can prevent you from recognizing when a problem arises. If you have reduced sensation in your foot from diabetes or anything else, you’re also more susceptible to cuts, scrapes, and foot injuries. Nerve damage slows your body’s natural healing process and increases your risk of infection. If you don’t inspect your feet on a daily basis, it’s possible for a neurotrophic ulcer to take hold.
The team at Downstate Foot & Ankle Podiatry diagnoses wound ulcers by performing a physical exam, reviewing your medical history, and performing a series of noninvasive vascular studies. If necessary, they might also order a series of X-rays.
The goal of ulcer treatment is to relieve pain, speed recovery, and help heal the wound. Depending on the severity of your ulcer, your Downstate Foot & Ankle Podiatry provider might recommend prescription antibiotics, compression garments, and topical wound therapies. If your ulcers are on the bottoms or sides of your feet, you might also benefit from custom orthotics and custom orthopedic weight dispersion devices.
Advanced therapies such as bio engineered skin grafts, hyperbaric wound treatment and stem cell therapies are employed by the team at Downstate Foot and Ankle to ensure you have the best chance at wound resolution
Downstate foot and Ankle physicians and surgeons understand that these wounds are often related to endocrine, metabolic, nutrition, and vascular issues. It is extremely important to see the patient as a whole when healing or preventing foot and ankle ulcers. We work intimately with your primary care provider to resolve wounds. Our extended team includes endocrinologists, vascular surgeons, orthotists, nutritionists, radiologists, plastic surgeons, nephrologists and neurologists.
Make sure you take ulcers and open leg wounds seriously. Make an appointment at Downstate Foot & Ankle Podiatry by calling or clicking today.