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Treating Diabetic Wounds and Helping them Heal Quicker

Posts Tagged ‘Diabetes’

Treating Diabetic Wounds and Helping them Heal Quicker

Posted on: June 9th, 2022 by Jason Miller No Comments

At Encompass Healthcare, Dr. Bruce Ruben and his team of wound doctors treat diabetic wounds on a daily basis.

We see a lot of different types of non-healing wounds from patients with Diabetes and we’re asked how to help these wounds heal (and how to help diabetic wounds heal quicker). Here are some treatment processes you can do at home to ensure these wounds do not become bigger health concerns.

First, and very importantly, find any cuts you have, including scrapes, and treat these wounds immediately.

If you treat new wounds right away, you can start caring for them before things get bad.

As soon as you find a cut or sore:

+Wash your hands with soap and water.
+Rinse off the wound with warm water.
+Apply pressure to stop any bleeding.
+Apply antibiotic cream and cover with a bandage.

Also, if you don’t know you have a wound, you can’t treat it quickly. So if you suffer from neuropathy, keep an eye out for new wounds. Check your hands and feet daily, and don’t forget to check between your toes.

Wearing white athletic socks can help, too. If you see a red spot or a place where your sock is sticking to your skin, check your foot to see if you have a wound that’s new or not healing.

Take pressure off the area – if your wound continues to reopen or experience damage, it won’t heal quickly and may get much worse. So avoid putting stress, pressure and weight on wounds.

It can be difficult for some wounds like ones on your feet. If you need help, talk to your doctor about ways to protect your wounds while maintaining mobility. Special shoes and customized foot padding are common options.

Keep your wound clean and covered with the right dressings

Wounds heal best when they are clean and moist. So it’s important to get them clean and covered right away. If you have a new scrape or cut, a basic bandage and antibiotic cream should work just fine.

But if you have wounds that are infected, slow healing or more serious, make an appointment with a doctor to learn what the best wound care is for you. Your doctor will likely recommend different types of diabetic wound care dressings to protect the injury and promote healing.

 

Common types of dressings for diabetic wound care:

Foam dressings – Extremely soft and absorbent, foam dressings are used for wounds that leak or ooze a lot. They also offer added cushioning which can help protect the wound against physical damage.

Alginate dressing – These types of dressings are primarily made from seaweed. They can hold up to twenty times their weight in moisture, making them a great choice for deep wounds and ones with discharge. Another advantage of alginate dressings is that they prevent the growth of new bacteria.

Hydrogel dressings – Hydrogel is a water-based gel designed to keep an area moist. If your wound is dry or covered in dead skin, your doctor may recommend a hydrogel dressing to provide moisture. This can help break down dead tissue and promote cell growth. These types of dressings usually aren’t used for infected wounds.

What happens if diabetic sores or wounds are left untreated?

Wounds tend to heal more quickly with care and attention. But when you live with diabetes, everyday wounds are more likely to turn serious when they stick around for too long.

 

Foot ulcers or wounds

If foot wounds are left untreated, they may turn into foot ulcers, which are often called diabetic foot sores. About 20-25% of people with diabetes will get a foot ulcer at some point in their life.

Here’s how foot ulcers develop:

  1. The foot forms a callus.
  2. The callus receives ongoing damage. Most often, this happens when a person has neuropathy and can’t feel when their foot is hurt.
  3. Since the damaged callus isn’t treated when it should be, the skin erodes, leading to an ulcer.

Most foot ulcers are on the ball of your foot, often near your big toe. A foot ulcer looks like a red sore. If there’s pus and the wound smells badly, it may be infected.

If you have a foot ulcer, you should talk to your doctor. If it’s infected, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor as soon as possible.

Foot ulcers can take a long time to heal – about three months – and you’ll need to check in frequently with a doctor to make sure that the healing process stays on track. In some cases, you may need special shoes to reduce pressure on the wound.

While this may all seem like a lot of work, there’s a reason to stick with it. If your foot ulcer doesn’t heal, it can turn into something more serious, possibly even the loss of a limb.

Gangrene – Gangrene occurs when body tissue dies – Fortunately, this condition isn’t common. But it’s something to watch for, because it can cause serious issues if not caught and treated early.

Gangrene often begins with an infected wound. It usually starts in a certain area like a finger or toe, and then can spread over time. If the infection remains untreated for too long, the surrounding tissues can start to die.

 

Signs to watch for include:

  • A reddish line around the wound, becomes black
  • Loss of sensation around the wound
  • Skin that has turned an unusual color, such as red, blue, bronze or greenish-black
  • Wounds that repeatedly reappear in the same place

If you think you have gangrene, you should get medical help right away. Your doctor will remove the affected tissue and repair the area, possibly with a skin graft. Infection will be treated with antibiotics.

If gangrene isn’t treated soon enough, the result can be amputation. The doctor may need to remove a finger or a toe to keep the gangrene from spreading – and if there’s a lot of dead tissue, they may need to remove an arm or leg. In some cases, gangrene can be fatal, so make sure to get treatment at the earliest sign of this condition.

 

Osteomyelitis – Infected wounds can infect your bones, causing a condition called osteomyelitis. If bone infections aren’t treated, parts of your bones can die. Symptoms to look for include:

  1. Fever
  2. Swelling and redness
  3. Skin that’s hot to the touch
  4. Pain or tenderness
  5. Yellowish pus coming through your skin

If you think you have a bone infection, make an appointment with your primary care doctor. There are effective treatments for osteomyelitis, but they work best when the infection is caught early.

Encompass Healthcare and Wound Medicine offers advanced treatments for severe and chronic diabetic wounds.

Meet the Wound Dogs of Encompass HealthCare

Posted on: February 6th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

At Encompass HealthCare, we believe that a calming, welcoming, and happy environment plays a big role in the healing of our patients! That is why Dr. Ruben, our medical director, has introduced two therapy dogs into our office! Inky and Pocket bring a sense of joy to our office each and every day! Many of our patients have attested to the calming effect the dogs have had on them and tell us they look forward to visiting the dogs at each appointment in our office.

Inky and Pocket have been nicknamed the Wound Dogs because of how quickly some of our patients have healed when they’ve spent extended time with the dogs. Many patients tell us how the Wound Dogs have lifted their spirits and given them the positive mindset they needed in order to heal! Pet therapy is so powerful!

Wound Dogs at Encompass Healthcare in West Bloomfield - Dr. Bruce Ruben

We believe in the effect a healthy, happy pet can have on a person’s mental health and their healing experience in general! It follows along closely with Dr. Ruben’s philosophy of treating the WHOLE PATIENT, not just the hole in the patient!

Judging by how much they wag their tails…we think our dogs love being therapy pets! They get to go on a long scenic walk each day and get lots of love and attention from our staff and patients! Not to mention, TREATS! If you happen to be in our office, make sure you say hi to Inky and Pocket, they’ll be happy to see you!

Food Substitutions

Posted on: July 10th, 2014 by Mindy Ruben No Comments

No Substitute For Substitutions

by
Rob Striks, Special Writer
Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine

Spaghetti squash is a great substitute for normally high-carb spaghetti.

At Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine, we talk a lot about making dietary food substitutions in order to take in more protein, lose weight or gain energy to aid in wound healing.

Sometimes, the substitutions we recommend are appropriate for a much larger audience than just wound care patients. Diabetic, cardiac and obese patients can make important strides in their health by making simple substitutions in their diet.

With that in mind, I made two important discoveries this week that have revolutionized my entire diet. I cooked with garbanzo flour and I learned how to make fried rice out of cauliflower. This is literally, and I use the term “literally” correctly here, the best thing since sliced bread.

Garbanzo Bean Flour is available in supermarkets and online.

Garbanzo Bean Flour is available in supermarkets and online.

That’s because I can now use garbanzo flour in recipes where I used to use wheat products and the end result is not only tastier, it’s infinitely healthier for me. Garbanzo beans are a rich source for protein, dietary fiber and healthy carbohydrates. They’re also very low in fat.

This discovery is a personal triumph for me as I used to pride myself on being able to make healthy substitutions in all my cooking. My substitutions, though, did not necessarily result in a trim body or more energy.

For instance, I learned how to substitute skim milk for whipping cream in Fettuccine Carbonara, which is like ordering a Boston Cooler made with Häagen-Dazs ice cream and telling the server to use Diet Vernors instead of regular Vernors. No big payoff there.

Then when Egg Beaters came along, I saw the clouds part and a heavenly ray of light shine down. Finally, the answer to high cholesterol had arrived! Unfortunately, they arrived along with mandatory nutritional labeling, and you had to be a chemistry major to figure out what they were actually made of. Plus, they didn’t taste all that wonderful.

Then, there is the never-discussed shame of ordering Egg Beaters in a restaurant. If you’re heavy, the server thinks you’re cheating somewhere else in your diet. And if you’re slender, you’re obviously high maintenance. There’s no winning with egg substitutes physically or mentally.

Socca is a gluten-free flatbread made from garbanzo bean flour.

Socca is a gluten-free flatbread made from garbanzo bean flour.

I did make the transition to substituting fresh egg whites for whole eggs in recipes and I learned to accept the texture changes in the finished products. Luckily, it’s 2014 and fresh whole eggs are enjoying some great publicity for being on the Good-For-You List again. I am cutting back on the yolks just a bit.

What brought me to garbanzo flour was the advice from my cardiologist that I give up all wheat, rice and potato products; and the advice from a good friend that I try socca, a food that’s like bread only it’s made with garbanzo flour instead of wheat flour. Cue the choir, it was fabulous.

Then, while putting together a ground turkey meat loaf, I substituted garbanzo flour for breadcrumbs and got another marvelous lift – a super protein, high-fiber meat loaf that held together perfectly. Is there anything these garbanzo’s can’t do?

Luscious chocolate cake made from garbanzo bean flour: Heaven!

Luscious chocolate cake made from garbanzo bean flour: Heaven!

A rich chocolate flourless cake made with garbanzo beans, you ask? The answer is yes and it’s right here. Make it and I guarantee the clouds will part for you

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or use a grater to make superb cauliflower fried rice.

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or use a grater to make superb cauliflower fried rice.

Now about that fried rice made with cauliflower. Who knew! I saw this demonstration online, I tried it and not only did I not need a nap after eating it, I actually felt quite energized. One of the secrets is using a food processor to pulse the uncooked cauliflower into tiny rice-size pieces. Then during the cooking process, you only use a small amount of liquid to steam the cauliflower so it doesn’t turn mushy.

Once you understand the liquid-holding and liquid-releasing properties in vegetables during cooking, there’s practically no limit to how you can use them as substitutes to enhance your nutrition. Spinach, for example, releases a lot of moisture when it’s cooked.

Spinach releases a lot of moisture during cooking.

Spinach releases a lot of moisture during cooking.

The same goes for mushrooms. So if you’re making quinoa with spinach and/or mushrooms and you want the same drier consistency, you have to use a bit less liquid than the usual two parts water to one part quinoa in the recipe.

In the beginning, using vegetables as substitutes in recipes works best when the seasonings usually overpower the dish. Like in the cauliflower fried rice, the soy sauce and seasonings over power any strong cauliflower taste.

Like spinach, mushrooms release liquid during cooking.

Like spinach, mushrooms release liquid during cooking.

Later, as you become more accustomed to the flavor and texture of the cauliflower, you may find yourself using less of the overpowering flavors in order to let the cauliflower taste come through.

So now that you can’t wait to garbanzo your diet, where do you get garbanzo flour? Well, you can make it yourself by grinding non-hydrated garbanzo beans in a spice grinder until they’re the consistency of flour, you can buy the flour already processed at most big supermarkets, or you can buy it online.

Try garbanzo flour for wheat flour. Check out cauliflower in place of rice. You can even prepare parsnips so they taste like sautéed potatoes. There’s no substitute for substitutions when it comes to eating healthier.

Hmmm…now that I think about it, lentils are beans and they’re also high in protein and low in fat. I wonder what would happen if I put them in my spice grinder and……

I’ll get back with you.

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Owning Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Posted on: December 8th, 2013 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Owning Diabetic Foot Ulcers

We own diabetic foot ulcers like Lebron James owns anyone who covers him on the basketball court.  We have advanced knowledge of the game. We possess the mechanics. We’ve trained all our lives to produce at the highest levels of wound care. We’re driven to beat this insidious disease.

We own diabetic foot ulcers. There’s no foot ulcer that we haven’t been able to cure thus far.  That’s because sometimes the ulcer has little to do with the bandage that’s put on it and more to do with the malady underneath it.  That’s right….wound medicine goes a lot deeper than fancy bandaging.  It goes into usual unchartered territories like infection, edema, poor nutrition (or just not enough protein,) poor circulation, and repetitive trauma.

So the next time you hear about Encompass Healthcare‘s ability to heal a diabetic foot ulcer, think of our little “logo” guy on 6’8″ stilts, wearing the finest basketball court shoes money can buy.

 

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