Foot Ulcer / Leg Ulcer
Foot ulcers and leg ulcers are generally due to diabetes. Diabetic foot ulcer is the most common injury of the feet that leads to amputation. Patients with peripheral arterial disease, or structural foot deformities also have an increased risk of foot and leg ulcers. A thorough physical examination followed up with monofilament testing and a test for arterial insufficiency will help identify high-risk individuals. If you find yourself in a high-risk category a podiatrist can help you with early diagnosis and treatment to prevent complications.
Patient education regarding nail care, foot hygiene and proper footwear is crucial to reducing risk factors that lead to ulcer formation
Picture of Foot Ulcer / Leg Ulcer
Symptoms of Foot and Leg Ulcers
Foot ulcers appear as red craters on the foot. Most foot ulcers occur on the bottom or side of the foot or on the tip or top of the toe. The ulcerated area may be surrounded by callused or thickened skin. In severe cases, the ulcer can be so deep that tendons or bones may be visible.
If the nerves within the foot are functioning properly, the ulcer will can be extremely painful. However, if the nerves aren’t functioning correctly, a person could be afflicted with this condition and not even know; especially if the ulcer occurs in a less obvious spot on the foot.
Prevention of Foot and Leg Ulcers
Foot care and healthy management of seemingly insignificant foot injuries is crucial to preventing the formation of ulcers. A daily foot inspection, for those who may be at risk, is the key to foot care. Gently cleansing the feet with antibacterial soap and water, followed up with an application of a topical moisturizer, will help maintain good skin that is more resistant to injury and breakdown.
A podiatrist should inspect your shoes for improper fit or inadequate support. While many people may do well with commercial athletic shoes, people with special support needs or foot deformities may find custom shoes beneficial. Medicare Part B currently covers custom shoe purchases for patients whose podiatrist have identified risk factors that may cause ulcer formation.
Minor infections or foot injuries, such as scrapes, cuts, tinea pedis and blisters, can be made worse unintentionally due to over the counter remedies that impede healing. It is important to avoid heating pads, hot soaks and harsh topical applicants such as iodine, hydrogen peroxide, and astringents. Gentle cleansing of these minor injuries and the application of an antibiotic ointment may help in the prevention of ulcer formation. Furthermore, a podiatrist should inspect any minor injury that doesn’t heal rapidly.
Foot Ulcer / Leg Ulcer Treatment
If the patient has good circulation within the foot, Dr. Mechanik may be able to treat the ulcer by removing tissue through a process called debridement. He will also remove any callused skin nearby. Dr. Mechanik will dress the area and may prescribe special footwear to alleviate pressure that could impede the healing of the ulcerated area. Specialized footwear may be a postoperative walking shoe that is worn over the bandage, or a cast.
Dr. Mechanik will schedule follow up appointments to assess and debride the area, and the dressing may need to be changed every several days. Follow up care may require multiple visits over the course of weeks or months; however long it takes for the affected area to heal completely. If the possibility for infection exists, antibiotics may be prescribed.
Once the ulcerated area has healed, Dr. Mechanik may prescribe well-cushioned, roomy footwear that alleviates pressure on areas of your feet that may still be vulnerable.
Ulcerated areas that will not respond to this more conservative method may require surgery. Patients with poor foot circulation may be in need of vascular surgery to correct the blood-flow problems afflicting their leg arteries. In extreme cases, without leg surgery, ulcerated areas may not heal completely
We Can Help
As director of the Colorado Foot Institute, Dr. Mechanik is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Board Certified in Reconstructive Rear Foot and Ankle surgery. He has the medical and surgical skills to treat your foot conditions. He and his family are natives of the Denver area.
Dr. Mechanik received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) from the the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine which is part of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a national leader in medical education.
Dr. Mechanik then went on to complete a twenty-four month post-graduate residency training program in Foot and Ankle Surgery.
Dr. Mechanik is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Surgery. He is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle Surgery Dr. Mechanik understands the risks involved with diabetic foot ulcers and can help you to manage these problems in their early stages when treatment is most effective. He and his family are natives of the Denver area. We are available for questions and appointments at 303-333-3383.