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Foot and Ankle Ulcers

Chronic foot and ankle ulcerations are notorious for slow healing and are at greater risk for developing infection which can lead to limb amputations. The Vascular & Diabetic Foot Center (VDFC) follows established evidence-based protocols and well-defined research to rapidly heal these ulcers.

A chronic ulcer is a failure of the skin organ system, the largest organ system in the body. The VDFC focuses more on managing the underlying reasons for this skin organ failure such as diabetes mellitus, peripheral arterial disease​ (PAD), soft tissue and/or bone infections, gold-standard offloading, nutritional and dietary support and less on the use of wound dressings.

The goal is to accomplish rapid healing and prevent ulcer recurrence as diabetic foot ulcers have roughly a 50% increased risk of recurrence within one year. Advanced surgical techniques are also used for rapid wound closure, including plastic surgical skin flaps and advanced wound therapies. For neuropathic patients who have plantar foot ulcers, the gold standard of a customizable total contact cast is routinely utilized.

Foot and Ankle Conditions with Diabetes Mellitus and/or Vascular Disorders

Patients with diabetes mellitus are more prone to developing complications in their feet and ankles, including infections and subsequent amputations. Those complications require highly specialized care taking into account the cardiovascular aspect of diabetes mellitus — more than 50% of patients with diabetes mellitus develop vascular disorders affecting their ability to heal their wound. Patients with diabetes mellitus and/or vascular issues can be seen at the VDFC for their foot and ankle issues.

Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exams

Diabetes mellitus is a cardiovascular disease affecting the entire body. Because the blood vessels are the smallest and further away from the heart, the foot is commonly affected by diabetes mellitus. The American Diabetes Association and the International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot recommend that patients with diabetes mellitus be evaluated by a diabetic foot specialist at least once yearly, as complications seen in the foot can be a precursor to other systemic conditions. The VDFC offers preventative comprehensive diabetic foot exams performed by highly trained, board-certified podiatric surgeons on the medical staff following up-to-date guidelines and recommendations established by both of these organizations.

Lower Extremity Vascular Assessment and Management

The VDFC is led by a team of highly regarded board-certified vascular surgeons on the medical staff specializing in the management of complex vascular disorders, especially in the lower extremities. Patients with diabetes mellitus have a much higher risk of developing peripheral arterial disease (PAD) which can lead to debilitating complications including limb amputations. Additionally, the peripheral arterial system is affected differently in diabetics versus non-diabetics; diabetic PAD primarily affects the smaller distal arteries between the knee and foot as compared to non-diabetic PAD which primarily affects the larger arteries in the thigh. The vascular surgeons on the Center's medical staff have received advanced training and utilize advanced​ equipment and procedures to treat these difficult vascular conditions.

On-Site Vascular Imaging and Lab

As a part of The Heart Hospitals' Outpatient Services, the VDFC offers a full complement of vascular diagnostic imaging studies and laboratory testing, including:

  • Non-invasive imaging studies
    • Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI)
    • Arterial Duplex studies
    • Venous Duplex studies
    • Vein mapping studies
  • On-site CT angiography
  • Comprehensive on-site laboratory services

New patients interested in the services offered by the VDFC may contact the Nurse Coordinator at 469.814.3480 or send an email to THHBPVDFC@BSWHealth.org.