Manning Regional Healthcare Center

Manning Man Finds Comfort from MRHC Wound Care Center

November 18, 2019 

Ralph Dobler woke up one morning and knew something was wrong. The bottom of his foot was tender to the touch and the pain turned excruciating when he walked.

“I knew right away that I needed to get into the doctor and have it evaluated,” said Dobler, 74, of Manning.

Dobler, a diagnosed diabetic, had experienced the side effects of the disease for several years, but was following a proper diabetic diet, watching his health and staying active. Unfortunately, a few years earlier before his disease management knowledge grew, he learned the hard way that diabetic ulcers could lead to amputation if not treated immediately. 

“I knew that if we could get on top of the new wounds right away that we would have the potential to save my foot,” said Dobler.

Dobler is not alone in his chronic disease management. More than 29.1 million Americans have diabetes and 60 to 70% of people with diabetes have limited or no feeling in their feet. Furthermore, approximately 25 to 30% of patients with diabetes develop a foot sore or ulcer. While ulcers can be anywhere on the foot, most occur on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe.

The wound care team at MRHC believes Dobler’s immediate attention to his diabetic ulcer and willingness to commit to weekly treatments until the wound was healed is what ultimately prevented him from having an amputation.

“It’s much easier to treat a minor foot problem before it becomes serious,” said Kendra Tiefenthaler, RN, Clinical Coordinator for the MRHC Wound Care Center.

According to Tiefenthaler, there are several reasons why diabetic patients have foot problems; but the most common reason is that they suffer from nerve damage called neuropathy, which causes loss of sensation in the feet.  These patients also suffer from poor circulation, which can make their foot less able to fight infection and heal.

Individuals suffering from diabetes may be at risk for a foot ulcer if they have one or more of the following signs:
  • Lack of sensation (feeling) in feet

  • Feeling of “pins and needles” in feet

  • Feet hurt while walking or resting

  • Sores don’t heal

  • Skin on feet becomes thick, dry or scaly,

  • Calluses develop easily on the soles of feet

“At MRHC, we have the ability to treat any open wounds caused from vascular complications, post-surgical procedures, diabetes and more,” said Tiefenthaler.  “Oftentimes patients will see the most benefit from weekly treatments where the provider addresses any concerns, evaluates wound progress, and cleans or redresses the wound to ensure timely healing.”

Because 1 in 4 patients with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer in their lifetime, MRHC staff have provided the following tips to help individuals suffering from diabetes care for their feet and prevent diabetic ulcers:
Check your feet daily. Look for blisters, cuts and scratches. Use a long-handled mirror or place a mirror on the floor to see the bottom of your feet. Always check between your toes.
Keep your feet clean. Wash daily, dry carefully – especially between the toes.
Moisturize your feet. Apply a moisturizer as recommended by your physician, but never apply between toes as that can lead to a fungal infection.
Do not walk barefoot. That includes on sandy beaches and pool/patio areas.
Wear properly fitted shoes. Shoes should be comfortable when purchased. Do not wear narrow, pointed toe or high-heeled shoes.
Inspect the inside of your shoes daily. Check for foreign objects, tears or rough areas on the inside of the shoe.
Do not wear shoes without socks or stockings. Wear clean, properly fitted socks. Cotton or cotton-blend socks are recommended.
Avoid temperature extremes. Test water temperature with your hand or elbow prior to bathing. Do not soak your feet in hot water or apply a hot water bottle. If your feet feel cold at night; wear socks.
Trim your toenails regularly. Always cut your nails straight across.
Do not use over-the-counter remedies for corns. See a podiatrist to have these evaluated.
Avoid crossing your legs. This causes pressure on the nerves and blood vessels, resulting in less blood flow to your feet.
If you are experiencing pain or complications from an open wound, contact the MRHC Specialty Clinic at (712) 655-8112 to request a wound care consultation or treatment. Physician referrals are not required.


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