HealthSheets™


Treating Pressure Injuries of the Foot

Healthcare provider examining man’s foot.With your healthcare provider’s care, hot spots, small cracks, or sores can be treated before they get infected. If infection is already present, your provider will probably prescribe medicine. You may also need surgery if the infection has spread.

Checking your feet

What to look for:

  • Use a mirror to look at the bottom of your feet each day. By doing so, you can catch small skin changes before they turn into pressure injuries.

  • Call your healthcare provider if you notice hot spots, red streaks, swelling, or any cracks or sores. Never try to treat corns or calluses yourself. 

  • Check the soles and insides of your shoes before putting them on. Remove any objects, such as pebbles.

Improving your overall health

Do your best to control health problems that may affect your feet, such as diabetes and kidney disease. Eat right and exercise. If you are given medicines, take them as directed. If you smoke, stop. Smoking reduces blood flow and slows healing. Limiting alcohol intake may also be helpful.

 

Cleaning the pressure injuries

To help with healing, your healthcare provider may clear away the thickened skin around the pressure injury. He or she may put medicated ointment or cream on the injury to prevent infection. Sometimes a special dressing is used to help keep the wound dry.

 

Reducing force

To take pressure off hot spots and ulcers, your healthcare provider may prescribe orthoses. These custom-made shoe inserts absorb or move pressure from problem areas. You may need special shoes or temporary casts.

 

Using antibiotics

To control or prevent infection, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics. Take them all, and take them as directed. If you stop using an antibiotic too soon, the infection may come back.

 

If surgery is needed

You may need surgery if infection enters deep tissues or bone. In such cases, your healthcare provider cleans away the infection while removing as little tissue or bone as possible. You may also be given intravenous (IV) antibiotics to fight the infection.

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