Specialized wound care improves healing and reduces amputations for diabetes-related wounds

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

WISCONSIN RAPIDS – In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, Aspirus Health wound healing experts are reminding people with diabetes to kick off their shoes every time they see their health care provider.

“Foot ulcers and other diabetes-related chronic wounds are a leading cause of amputation and require early detection and specialized care,” said Rob Holcomb, program director for Aspirus Riverview Wound & Hyperbaric Clinic.

According to the CDC, 34.2 million people – just over 1 in 10 – have diabetes; and diabetes-related wounds account for about 65,000 amputations annually. Risk factors for diabetes include age, diet, activity level, obesity, and heredity. Factors that may increase the risk of developing a chronic wound, such as a foot ulcer include high blood sugar levels, poor circulation, immune system issues, and nerve damage.

A diabetic foot ulcer is a wound that is usually on the ball of the foot or toes. It may start from a cut, scrape, or blister. Many people with diabetes have nerve damage in their lower limbs and do not feel pain when an ulcer begins. Up to 25 percent of people with diabetes will experience a foot ulcer; and 85 percent of diabetes-related amputations start with a foot ulcer.

To help prevent diabetic foot ulcers, Holcomb recommends that people with diabetes:

  • Stop smoking immediately
  • Check your feet daily:
    • Look at your toenails and between your toes
    • Use a mirror to see your bare feet, heels and ankles
    • Ask a family member or friend to help
    • Never try to trim calluses or corns yourself
    • Ask your health care provider to examine your feet at every visit
  • Follow basic foot health guidelines:
    • Don’t go barefoot indoors or outdoors
    • Wash your feet daily; dry between your toes; do not use powder
    • If your feet become dry, moisturize them but do not get moisturizer between your toes
    • Avoid getting your feet too hot or too cold

With a 96 percent healing rate within 27 days, Aspirus Riverview Wound & Hyperbaric Clinic cares for patients who are living with diabetic ulcers, neuropathic ulcers, pressure ulcers, ischemic ulcers, venous insufficiency, traumatic wounds, surgical wounds, vasculitis, burns, damage to tissue surrounding radiation therapy sites, and other chronic, non-healing wounds. The clinic’s compassionate, specially trained staff use advanced therapies, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, specialized wound dressings, debridement, compression therapy, bioengineered skin grafting, edema management, and non-invasive vascular assessment.

Contact Aspirus Riverview Wound & Hyperbaric Clinic to learn more about diabetic foot ulcers or if you have a wound that is not healing. To schedule an appointment, please call 715-422-7755. For more information about all the wound care services and locations available through Aspirus Health, visit aspirus.org/wound-care.


Photo: Dr. Ridhwi Mukerji exams the feet of a patient at Aspirus Riverview Wound & Hyperbaric Clinic in Wisconsin Rapids


Aspirus Health is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin. Its 11,000 employees are focused on improving the health and well-being of people throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Aspirus serves communities through four hospitals in Michigan and 13 hospitals in Wisconsin, 75 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and air-medical transport, medical goods, nursing homes and a broad network of physicians. Aspirus has been recognized four consecutive years by IBM Watson Health as a Top 15 Health System in its annual study identifying the top-performing health systems in the country. For more information, visit aspirus.org.