Everything You Need To Know About Diabetic Foot Ulcers

If you have diabetes and have concerns about diabetic foot ulcers, here's what you need to know.

What are diabetic foot ulcers?

If you are not familiar with a diabetic foot ulcer, it is a cut that will not heal. While it is common to have diabetic foot ulcers on the bottom of your foot, they can appear anywhere on the foot or ankle.

What causes diabetic foot ulcers?

Diabetic foot ulcers are caused by a combination of factors, including:

  • Poor circulation. Poor circulation occurs when there is a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which restricts blood flow to the extremities.
  • Nerve damage. Nerve damage, also called neuropathy, can cause a loss of feeling in the feet, so patients may not be aware of injury or trauma to the foot.
  • Infection. Infections, such as bacteria or fungi, can enter the foot through a break in the skin and cause an ulcer.
  • Friction or pressure. When there is constant friction or pressure on the foot, it can lead to the development of a foot ulcer.

What are the symptoms of diabetic foot ulcers?

The most common symptom of a diabetic foot ulcer is pain. Other symptoms can include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Blisters
  • Calluses
  • Corns
  • Dry, cracked skin

If you have any of the above symptoms, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

How are diabetic foot ulcers treated?

There are several ways to treat diabetic foot ulcers, including:

  • Wound Care. Wound care involves cleaning the wound and dressing it with a sterile bandage.
  • Debridement. Debridement is the process of removing dead or infected tissue from a wound.
  • Antibiotics. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat an infection.
  • Off-loading. Off-loading is a technique that relieves pressure on the ulcer. This can be done with special shoes, casts, or other devices.
  • Surgery. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove dead or infected tissue or to correct a deformity.
  • Amputation. In severe cases, amputation may be the only option.

Can diabetic foot ulcers be prevented?

There are several things you can do to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers, including:

  • Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, redness, or swelling.
  • Wear shoes and socks that fit well and protect your feet.
  • Don't walk barefoot because you could injure your feet.
  • Exercise regularly to improve circulation.
  • Don't smoke because it can damage your blood vessels and cause poor circulation.
  • If you have diabetes, follow your doctor's instructions for managing your blood sugar levels.
  • Keep your skin soft and moist.
  • Don't smoke.

For more information on diabetic foot ulcers, make an appointment with a medical center, such as Wells Surgical Services LLC.