TRINITY — Since November is Diabetes Awareness Month, physicians at the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine department at Medical Center of Trinity offer insights for people with foot sores and other chronic conditions.
Generally speaking, people should not delay treatment for a wound that has not healed within four weeks, experts emphasize. Diabetes likely could be a culprit.
Diabetic foot ulcers in particular could pose more problems as the American population ages.
The wound care center opened in recent months at the hospital at 9330 S.R. 54 with an experienced team, cutting-edge treatments and evidence-based clinical protocols for superior healing outcomes, hospital spokeswoman Mary Sommise has said.
Luis Ramos, medical director for the new department, is a certified wound specialist physician. He is a board-certified neurosurgeon as well.
Registered nurse Sharon Owen is the program director. While a U.S. Army captain, Owen served seven years as an active duty nurse, including two deployments to Iraq.
They want to bring more attention to diabetic foot ulcers during the awareness month. The unusually high blood sugar levels in diabetic people can lead to sores or wounds on the feet.
About 15 percent of people with diabetes will develop the foot ulcers in their lifetime, the wound care staff in Trinity point out.
Left untreated, the foot ulcers can cause infections that result in amputation of a toe, foot or even a leg.
The ulcers, however, can be easily treated if caught early.
People with diabetes can help take care of their feet with some simple steps, such as examining their feet every day. Experts advise keeping the weight off a foot with a sore. Watching blood sugar levels and attending all doctor appointments should help.
Diabetes can cause nerve damage that limits the feeling in a person’s foot. The condition, peripheral neuropathy, can prevent someone from noticing injuries. Poor blood flow to feet because of diabetes can slow the healing process.
Long walks could create repetitive, minor trauma in the feet that leads to sores.
Wounds can result from major trauma to feet, such as stepping on rocks, putting feet in hot water, cutting toenails incorrectly or wearing shoes that don’t fit properly.
Calluses and hammertoes also can cause foot problems.
Checking for foot sores, blisters or swelling can lessen the possibility of a foot ulcer.
For more information, call the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine unit at (727) 834-4450.
Medical Center of Trinity is a 236-bed hospital with all private rooms. For information, go online to www.medicalcentertrinity.com, call (727) 834-4000 or follow on Twitter and Facebook.