Anyone can develop a foot ulcer. Diabetics who use insulin are at higher risk of developing a foot ulcer, as are patients with diabetesrelated kidney, eye, and heart disease. Being overweight
and using alcohol and tobacco also play a role in the development of foot ulcers.
Ulcers form due to a combination of factors, such as lack of feeling in the foot, poor circulation, foot deformities (hammer toes and bunions), irritation (such as friction or pressure), and trauma, as well as duration of diabetes. Patients who have diabetes for many years can develop neuropathy, a reduced or complete lack of ability to feel pain in the feet due to nerve damage
caused by elevated blood glucose levels over time. The nerve damage often can occur without pain, and one may not even be aware of the problem. We can test feet for neuropathy with a
simple, painless tool called a monofilament.
Vascular disease can complicate a foot ulcer, reducing the body’s ability to heal and increasing the risk for an infection. Elevations in blood glucose can reduce the body’s ability to fight off a
potential infection and also slow healing.
Because many people who develop foot ulcers have lost the ability to feel pain, pain is not a common symptom. Many times, the first thing you may notice is some drainage on your socks.
Redness and swelling may also be associated with the ulceration and, if it has progressed significantly, odor may be present
Once an ulcer is noticed, seek podiatric medical care immediately. Foot ulcers in patients with diabetes should be treated to reduce the risk of infection and amputation. The primary goal in the treatment of foot ulcers is to obtain healing as soon as possible. The faster the healing, the less chance for an infection. Wounds that do not heel are of particular concern because of the risk of infection. You are at high risk if you have neuropathy, poor circulation, foot deformities (e.g. bunion, hammertoes), wear inappropriate shoes, uncontrolled blood sugar, and have a history of foot ulcerations.
The best way to treat a diabetic foot ulcer is to prevent its development in the first place. Montgomery Foot Care Specialist can determine if you are at high risk for developing a foot ulcer and implement strategies for prevention.