April is Foot Health Awareness Month! Since many seniors have diabetes, foot ulcers are often common among them.Typically, Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers foot exams every 6 months if you have diabetic peripheral neuropathy and loss of protective sensations, as long as you haven’t seen a foot care professional for another reason between visits. Now, with the world being locked down in quarantine, many older adults’ feet are progressing into sad shape. Here are some things to know about foot ulcers and common foot wounds:
Things to Know About Foot Ulcers
- Ulcers are wounds or sores that do not heal and are most commonly on the leg or foot.
- Ulcers occur when the outer layers of the skin are injured, and the deeper tissues become exposed.
- The wound may hurt, but those with diabetic nerve damage may be unable to feel pain, heat, or cold.
- Untreated foot ulcers can develop gangrene (dead tissue caused by an infection or lack of blood flow) and lead to an amputation.
- Foot ulcerations precede 80% of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations.
Common Foot Wounds
- Neurotrophic (Diabetic) Foot Ulcers – Diabetes and complications of diabetic neuropathy, or loss of feeling in the feet are common causes of this type of ulcer. These ulcers appear anywhere on the foot, but are most commonly found on the big toes, balls of feet, or heels.
- Venous Stasis Foot Ulcers – These ulcers are common in patients who have a history of leg swelling, varicose veins, or a history of blood clots in either the superficial or the deep veins of the legs. These ulcers are most likely to occur on the ankle or lower leg area.
- Arterial Foot Ulcers – These ulcers are caused by poor blood supply to the affected area, due to arterial insufficiency. The patient usually has prior knowledge of poor circulation in the legs and may have an accompanying disorder. These ulcers may occur between, or on the tips of toes, and on the outer ankle.
- Pressure Ulcers – These ulcers occur when there is a lack of movement in the feet or ill-fitting shoes. They most commonly appear in patients who are bedbound. These ulcers can appear on the heels or the ankle area of the foot.
Regular foot inspections, proper footwear, a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy glucose levels are key to the prevention of foot ulcers in those living with diabetes. Seek treatment from a medical doctor at the first sign of a foot ulcer, as they can become extremely critical to your health.
If you or a loved one is starting to become overwhelmed with navigating and coordinating all your healthcare needs, especially during this time of the COVID-19 crisis, CAB’s Nurse Care Managers are here to advocate on your behalf! Call us today for more information on services.