Foot wounds are, by far, the leading cause of non-traumatic amputations in this country. This year alone, close to 100,000 Americans may end up losing part or even all of their foot as a complication of an infected foot wound—usually in conjunction with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, and/or peripheral vascular disease.
The point here? Exceptional, timely wound care services are critical for long-term health. Amputations are almost always preventable, but you need to act!
At Rainier Foot & Ankle Associates, we take foot wounds extremely seriously. We even make use of EpiFix, an advanced wound care technology to protect you against infection and accelerate the healing process. Simply put, we want to give you every possible advantage so you can keep your feet and continue to enjoy your way of life!
Foot Wounds Are Always an Emergency
If you suffer from diabetes, poor circulation, or peripheral neuropathy and notice a foot wound, you’re already in a race against the clock.
With these and related underlying conditions, you’re often less likely to notice a wound in the first place (due to the pain receptors in your feet not working properly), and your body is less equipped to fight off infections and close the wound (due to poor circulation). The longer the sore remains unaddressed, the greater your risk of infection and severe complications.
For these reasons, we strongly urge all our patients with diabetes, poor circulation, and/or neuropathy to follow these simple guidelines:
- Carefully examine your feet at least once per day. Pick a consistent time and stick to it.
- Call us right away if you notice any sores beginning to form. We’ll help you determine what your next steps should be and schedule you for an appointment as soon as possible, if necessary.
This cannot be stressed enough: staying on top of your symptoms at home on a daily basis, and reaching out for help early when problems arise, is the most important way to protect your long-term foot health!
A Foot and Ankle Wound Care Overview
There are several basic steps to wound care. They include:
- Debridement. This means cleaning out the wound of dead skin and other particles that may accumulate there, as they impair the healing process.
- Medications and dressings. The wound needs to be treated with medicine and covered to keep out infections. This is one area where EpiFix can make a HUGE difference—more on that below.
- Offloading. You’ll need to keep weight and pressure off the wound as it heals. This may mean a short cast, walking boot, crutches, or other devices.
- Lifestyle adjustments. As the wound heals, it’s critical that you keep your blood sugar in check, avoid smoking and alcohol, eat healthy, and take other steps that support (rather than inhibit) the healing process.
Advanced Wound Healing with EpiFix
As previously mentioned, we use EpiFix at our office to help accelerate the healing process for our patients and prevent amputations.
So what is it, exactly?
In short, EpiFix is a wound covering made from dehydrated, processed, and voluntarily donated placental tissue. (Neither mother nor child is harmed in any way, and it’s completely safe to use.) There are several significant benefits to using it as a wound covering:
- It makes an excellent barrier against outside germs.
- It’s packed with extracellular matrix proteins, growth factors, cytokines, and other essential nutrients that your body needs for the wound healing process.
- It provides a “scaffolding” of sorts that your body can use to construct new tissue faster and more efficiently.
In other words, EpiFix keeps you safer and helps you heal faster. There’s virtually no risk of rejection, and we don’t need to use a skin graft from somewhere else on your body (which just creates another painful wound.)
If it all sounds a little strange or experimental, know this: grafts made from placental tissue have actually been used for more than 100 years. The benefits and safety are well researched and understood. Use has historically been limited due to the difficulty of preserving the tissue without ruining its healing properties. However, thanks to recent technical advances, that’s no longer a problem!
Don’t Wait to Address a Foot Wound
No one enjoys seeing the doctor. We get that. But at the same time, amputations are forever. And nothing is harder for a doctor or patient than having to go through the process.
Don’t take chances with your feet! If you have any concerns about sores, ulcers, or wounds on your feet, please call us right away. We’ll do everything in our power to make sure you stay healthy, active, and independent! Dial (360) 761-1285 to reach our Enumclaw office today.