In healthy individuals, wounds can heal fairly quickly and easily due to our bodies natural ability to continuously produce new cells. Wounds that involve medical intervention, such as decubutis ulcers, require a bit more time and care for optimal healing. Diabetic ulcers are a huge issue for individuals with diabetes who are bedridden or use wheelchairs. They are also known as “pressure sores” or “bed sores” and form where bones are closer to the skin. These ulcers are specifically problematic to the foot area and may take a significant amount of time to heal.
Food and nutrition plays a huge role in wound healing. The vitamins, minerals, and energy that we consume are vital for proper healing. Nutrient intake is especially important due to the great loss of nutrients that are lost in the blood supply exiting the wound.
To increase efficiency of wound healing, it is important to consume a sufficient amount of calories from whole foods. Refer to the My Plate Guidelines, for tips on creating a healthy and balanced meal. Adequate protein intake is also very beneficial.
Encourage people with diabetes and ulcerations to try to consume around 10-20 grams of protein with each meal or snack to ensure recovery. Strategies to increase protein intake could include, adding eggs to breakfast, peanut butter or chia seeds to a morning smoothie. Some herbs or spices, such as turmeric, may aid in fighting inflammation as well.
Assessing vitamin and mineral intake is vital, as many nutrients are lost through the wound. It is recommended to consult with a dietitian to assess specific nutrient needs. A dietitian with a background in diabetes may also be helpful in developing a nutrition plan to help control blood sugar levels and aid in wound healing.
For more information on nutrition and wound healing, visit 5 Nutrition Tips to Promote Wound Healing.
For more information on foot ulcers, be sure to check out our Foot Examination Pocket Chart.