When Diabetic Foot Ulcers Can Be Managed At Home

By Ronald A. Sage, DPM

Approximately 15 percent of all patients with diabetes can be expected to develop ulceration in their lifetime, thus putting them at risk for lower extremity amputation. Treatment for infected diabetic foot wounds accounts for one quarter of all diabetic hospital admissions in the United States and Great Britain.1-3 Patient education, proper footgear and regular foot examination can decrease the frequency and severity of ulceration.
However, when ulceration does occur, home care may be a cost-effective intervention that can either avoid or shorten hospital admissions in appropriate cases.
Obviously, severe, limb-threatening infection or ulceration requires hospital care. This is especially true in cases complicated by vascular disease that may require angiography and bypass surgery. However, if acute infection has been stabilized and the patient has adequate vascular perfusion (or it has been restored during hospitalization), proper wound care at home can facilitate the completion of wound closure. Such care does require administration of necessary antibiotics, debridement and dressing changes, offloading the ulcerated part, and optimal diabetes management.

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