Diabetic foot infections are one of the most serious complications encountered in patients with diabetes mellitus. The CDC reported that 29 million people in the United States (9.3%) have diabetes and 27% are undiagnosed.
As high as 25% of patients with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer. Patients with a foot ulcer will become infected in 50% of patients and 20% of those require an amputation. At Greater Houston Foot & Ankle Specialists we recommend regular diabetic foot care appointments to help prevent any future problems.
The diagnosis of a diabetic foot infection is a clinical diagnosis based on redness, increased heat, foul smell, swelling, pain, fever, and drainage. Lab work is typically performed and x-rays are obtained. Early antibiotic therapy is important to cover the most common types of bacteria. Multiple types of bacteria are typically present in infected diabetic ulcers.
Diabetic foot infections can be classified under Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) as mild, moderate, or severe. In moderate and severe infections, patients are typically admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotic therapy. If surgery is required, it is important to perform it early to remove any infected soft tissue and bone. Osteomyelitis is the infection of bone. Early treatment of diabetic foot infections has been shown to reduce the need for a major amputation.
More than 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes. The presence of diabetes has risen dramatically over the past 40 years and continues to rise. It is projected that by 2030, 550 million people in the world will be diabetic.
At Greater Houston Foot & Ankle Specialists, we frequently treat diabetic patients to prevent wounds and infections. We treat wounds aggressively with a variety of wound care products to help prevent infections and heal diabetic ulcers as quickly as possible. To learn more about our wound care services click here.