Complications of foot ulcers are a leading cause of hospitalization and amputation in people with diabetes. Diabetic foot ulcers result from neuropathy (loss of protective sensation) or ischemia (decreased blood flow and poor oxygenation that leads to tissue breakdown). Autonomic neuropathy causes dryness of the skin by decreased sweating and therefore vulnerability of the skin to break down. Necrotic (dying) tissue is laden with bacteria apt to grow in such an environment, so infections often complicate existing foot ulcers. Protective footwear and properly fitted diabetic shoes help to reduce the development of foot ulcers in people with diabetes. Every effort should be made to prevent diabetic foot ulceration and treat existing ulcers by multidisciplinary teams in order to decrease amputations. Relieving pressure on the ulcerated area is necessary to allow healing. Even when healed, diabetic foot ulcers should be regarded as a life-long condition and treated accordingly to prevent recurrence.
Applying a cream containing the amino acid L-arginine to the feet has been reported to improve circulation in the feet of people with diabetes, which might be helpful in preventing foot ulcers. Ask our compounding pharmacist for more information.