When you have diabetes, one common side effect when it’s not well managed is developing ulcers and wounds in your lower body. Without the right care, these ulcers can develop several potentially serious consequences.
As an experienced podiatrist on the cutting edge of ulcer care in the ankles and feet, Thomas Rambacher, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA, at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle in Mission Viejo, California, is a pioneer in using an orthoplastic approach to healing wounds that aren’t responding to treatment. Learn more about ankle and leg ulcers and how an orthoplastic approach can help treat them.
What are diabetic ankle and leg ulcers?
Ulcers are open sores that can occur on the ankles, legs, and feet of someone who has diabetes. They are relatively common, impacting 15% of people with diabetes.
Diabetic ulcers originally form as open wounds or sores, usually on your lower body. If you have diabetic neuropathy, your ability to feel sensations in your feet is reduced, which makes it harder to notice when you develop these ulcers.
Additionally, complications of diabetes can slow wound healing, especially in your extremities. This results in wounds taking longer to go away, increasing your likelihood of developing complications.
Without monitoring and treatment, your ulcers can become infected, which puts your body at risk, potentially spreading to your bones and muscles. If not treated, diabetic ulcers can lead to you needing an amputation.
You’re at the highest risk of developing diabetic ulcers if your diabetes isn’t well controlled. Along with carefully monitoring your diabetes and living a healthy lifestyle, you prevent diabetic ulcers by paying special attention to diabetic foot care and hygiene.
What is orthoplastics?
Orthoplastics is an innovative new field that combines the best techniques and advancements in orthopedics and plastic surgery. The progressive nature of orthoplastics allows Dr. Rambacher to successfully treat wounds that aren’t responding to other methods and avoid more severe complications like amputation.
During an orthoplastic surgery, Dr. Rambacher ensures the functionality of your ankle or leg remains preserved on the orthopedic side of the surgery. Additionally, he treats the ulcer in such a way that the area where the wound is located remains functional and keeps a restored appearance, using techniques from plastic surgery.
When performing the surgery, Dr. Rambacher harvests a live muscle flap, which is healthy tissue from another part of your body. He then rotates the flap, which causes the wound that previously wasn’t improving to heal.
Treating ankle and leg ulcers with orthoplastics
Dr. Rambacher offers orthoplastic surgery when other, more conservative measures don’t heal your ankle or leg ulcer. More conservative treatment options include:
- Taking pressure off the wound
- Applying dressings to the wound
- Prescribing medication to treat infection
To ensure your orthoplastics surgery is successful, Dr. Rambacher prepares by consulting a team of experts and using techniques from various multidisciplinary surgical perspectives. He always uses the most minimally invasive surgical methods possible, ensuring a high rate of rehabilitation and success.
As an American Professional Wound Care Association® Fellow, you’re in the hands of an advanced, skilled podiatrist when getting orthoplastic surgery and other treatment for diabetic ulcers. Contact us today to discuss your options for orthoplastic surgery and other diabetic wound care solutions.