Ointment may help heal foot wounds

One common complication of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is that some wounds heal slowly or won't heal on their own at all. This happens because the condition may damage blood vessels, making it difficult for oxygen and nutrients to circulate around the body and get to all the tissues, especially those in the extremities. Because of this, individuals with these conditions may have reduced sensation in their hands or feet, a symptom called neuropathy.

Affected patients tend to experience foot ulcers, since feet withstand a great deal of pressure throughout the day. Such wounds may occur from small cuts on the foot that go untreated. However, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Pathology, if individuals with diabetes or their healthcare providers can identify cuts and sores, treatment may accelerate the healing process.

Japanese researchers used a mice model to test topical simvastatin. They found that approximately 90 percent of wounds were healed two weeks after applying the ointment to a diabetic wound. This finding was greater than that for petroleum jelly alone.

Diabetes patients are at risk of losing a lower limb if they fail to get foot wounds treated. Even what may seem like a small ailment can turn into an ulcer that may require the foot to be amputated, according to WebMD. Foot amputations are observed in individuals who have diabetes 10 times more often than in people who don't have the condition.

With early treatment, amputations can be prevented.

"You can't always prevent an ulcer, but you can almost always prevent an amputation," Harold Brem, director of the Wound Healing Program at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, told WebMD.

This is why diabetes patients should pay proper attention to their feet by checking them every day, washing them with soap and water, making sure they're dried completely after they're washed and applying moisturizer.