Podiatrists are frequently consulted on wound care such as ulcers and injuries to the skin such as abrasions and lacerations. All Podiatric physicians in our practice are trained to recognize, treat and provide expert advice on lower extremity wound care. Wounds are very common, especially in a diabetic population. In particular, patients with long-standing and poorly managed diabetes, become neuropathic (loose sensation on the bottom of both feet). Once sensation is impaired, any traumatic event, such as a step on a glass or a stone in a shoe, contributes to infection which may quickly spread and lead to amputation. The leading cause of foot ulcers, however, is the presence of bony prominences, such as bunions or hammertoes, which often lead to the formation of extra skin layers, that are commonly known as corns or calluses. When corns and calluses remain untreated, the skin breaks and become a portal for bacteria to enter the body. Due to a lack of sensation, the patient may not feel it, which would allow breaks in the skin to rapidly progress and become infected. Once infected and left untreated, the wound may lead to amputation of the portion of the foot very quickly.
This potentially limb-threatening condition can be treated if recognized early. Our doctors employ a team approach to diagnose and quickly begin the treatment. In order to ascertain the healing, we would order a vascular study of the lower extremities to ensure that there is enough blood supply, as well as an x-ray, to ensure no early bone involvement. We also take a culture to correctly predict which antibiotic would treat the infection. In addition, we employ cutting-edge wound care products, such as artificial skin grafts, collagen powder, and collagen-based dressing. All of those products can be applied at the bedside and speed up ulcer healing considerably while healing the tissues and providing antimicrobial barriers at the same time.