One major issue diabetics face are foot wounds. Due to arterial insufficiency, decreased blood flow in the legs, tissue may die off and create a breading grounds for infection.1 When such an issue is not treated properly or in enough time, it may lead to wet gangrene.
What is gangrene?
When cells in the body are deprived of oxygen, the immune components that ward off infections are often at danger. As a result, cells die off and tissue decays, which then leads to infection. When this tissue dies, gangrene is a common next step. For most diabetics, wet gangrene occurs. It is called so because of the wet appearance that comes along with it. Other signs include blistering and swelling to the area.2 This variety of the infection can spread quickly and lead to death, making immediate treatment a necessity.
If you suffer a diabetic foot wound, it's important that you tend to it right away. This will help avoid infection and can ward off the issue of gangrene completely. Complete proper care with these simple steps:
- Use running water, without the soap, to clean the area of any dirt or other debris.
- Place an antibiotic ointment on the wound to prevent infection.
- Then put a bandage over the affected area to keep out irritants.
- Change the bandage daily and check for signs of infection at this time.
If any redness or swelling appears near or around the wound, seek medical attention immediately. Since most diabetic wounds occur on the foot, WebMD recommends staying off of your feet as much as possible.3
1 NYU Langone Medical Center, "Diabetes and limb salvage: Avoiding infection, gangrene and amputation"
2 Mayo Clinic, "Gangrene: Causes" August 10, 2011
3 WebMD, "Wound care: Your essential first aid care guide" May 21, 2010