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"I tell my new diabetic patients that pain is a gift," says David G. Armstrong, DPM, a podiatric surgeon and assistant professor of orthopaedics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. "No one wants to deal with pain, but people with diabetes slowly lose sensation over time, making it difficult for them to feel or see a foot ulcer as it develops."
Though the many new technologies in diabetes foot care are helpful, Armstrong says a basic foot examination is most important in preventing ulcers. He stresses, "People with diabetes need to examine their feet every day, just as they would comb their hair or brush their teeth."
Taking the pressure off of the feet is another essential in prevention, says Armstrong. If you feel pain, you must stay off your feet.
One new treatment researched at the University of Texas Science Center is skin grafts grown in a laboratory from living skin, extracted from the amputated foreskins of baby boys. Another is drugs to stimulate the healing of wound tissue.
"The new treatments on the horizon are very exciting and may help wounds heal significantly faster," says Armstrong, "but they will not heal the wound if the wound is not appropriately treated with good local wound care and removal of pressure."
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.