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Diabetic Foot Care (cont.)

Medical Treatment

  • Antibiotics: If the doctor determines that a wound or ulcer on the patient's feet or legs is infected, or if the wound has high a risk of becoming infected, such as a cat bite,antibiotics will be prescribed to treat the infection or the potential infection. It is very important that the patient take the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed. Generally, the patient should see some improvement in the wound in two to three days and may see improvement the first day. For limb-threatening or life-threatening infections, the patient will be admitted to the hospital and given IV antibiotics. Less serious infections may be treated with pills as an outpatient. The doctor may give a single dose of antibiotics as a shot or IV dose prior to starting pills in the clinic or emergency department.
  • Referral to wound care center: Many of the larger community hospitals now have wound care centers specializing in the treatment of diabetic lower extremity wounds and ulcers along with other difficult-to-treat wounds. In these multidisciplinary centers, professionals of many specialties including doctors, nurses, and therapists work with the patient and their doctor in developing a treatment plan for the wound or leg ulcer. Treatment plans may include surgical debridement of the wound, improvement of circulation through surgery or therapy, special dressings, and antibiotics. The plan may include a combination of treatments.
  • Referral to podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon: If the patient has bone-related problems, toenail problems, corns and calluses, hammertoes, bunions, flat feet, heel spurs, arthritis, or have difficulty with finding shoes that fit, a physician may refer you to one of these specialists. They create shoe inserts, prescribe shoes, remove calluses and have expertise in surgical solutions for bone problems. They can also be an excellent resource for how to care for the patient's feet routinely.
  • Home health care: The patient's doctor may prescribe a home health nurse or aide to help with wound care and dressings, monitor blood sugar, and help the patient take antibiotics and other medications properly during the healing period.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/29/2014

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