Diabetic Foot Ulcers: What You Need To Know

diabetic foot ulcers

Diabetes can lead to complications like foot ulcers and infections if not correctly managed. Proper diabetic foot care can reduce the risk of developing such complications and improve your quality of life.

What Are Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

Diabetic foot ulcers are open wounds commonly found on the bottom of diabetic patients’ feet. They tear through the outermost skin tissue and expose the layers beneath. If left untreated for a long time, they can extend down to the bone.

At Horizon Foot & Ankle Institute, we’ll help you understand what diabetic foot ulcers are more in-depth during your consultation. We believe educating patients about their conditions allows them to participate actively in treatment. This improves the chances of positive outcomes.

Who Is at Risk of Getting Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

People with diabetes are at risk of developing foot ulcers. The condition affects roughly 15% of the diabetic population. Diabetic groups at a high risk of developing the condition include:

  • Alcohol and tobacco users
  • Older men
  • Overweight individuals
  • Native Americans, Hispanics, and African Americans

Drugs, age, and weight can exacerbate diabetes. Racial and ethnic minorities face health disparities that may predispose them to complications like foot ulcers. At Horizon Foot & Ankle Institute, we cater to a diverse group of patients. We’ll help manage your condition regardless of the cause or risk factors.

How Big Are Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

Diabetic foot ulcers start small and grow larger with time if left untreated. The Wagner Diabetic Foot Ulcer Grade Classification System classifies the ulcers into six grades based on their depth. Here are the grades:

  • Grade 0: There’s no skin damage
  • Grade 1: The sore is shallow
  • Grade 2: The sore is deep
  • Grade 3: Part of the bone is visible through the wound
  • Grade 4: The part of your foot nearest to your toes shows signs of necrosis
  • Grade 5: The entire foot shows signs of necrosis

We’ll perform a thorough physical assessment to determine the extent of your foot ulcer. This helps us to accurately tailor your treatment plan to suit your condition.

Can a Foot Ulcer Become Infected?

A diabetic foot ulcer can become infected if not treated properly. Signs of infection include:

  • Tenderness around the sore
  • Unpleasant-smelling discharge
  • Wound discoloration
  • Fever and chills

Schedule an appointment when you notice these symptoms for expert assistance. Our foot care professionals will assess the severity of your infection and possibly recommend medications, wound care, or a hospital stay. A hospital stay may be necessary if the ulcer causes sepsis.

What Are Appropriate Diabetic Foot Care Techniques?

Here’s how to care for your feet if you have diabetes:

  • Wash your feet daily with mild soap and warm water to keep them clean
  • Apply lotion to prevent cracking and keep them moisturized
  • Wear socks with natural fibers
  • Wear well-fitting shoes
  • Check your feet daily for cuts, scrapes, or sores

Doing this will minimize your chances of getting foot ulcers. If you do get an ulcer, identifying it as early as possible can allow for early treatment. We’ll create a treatment plan best suited for your situation. The plan may include taking pressure off the affected area, using medications, removing the affected tissues, or using skin grafts to help the sore heal faster.

Visit Horizon Foot & Ankle Institute for Diabetic Foot Care

Horizon Foot & Ankle Institute is a leading podiatry practice committed to helping patients deal with foot and ankle conditions. We offer unparalleled expertise in handling diabetic foot ulcers. Contact us for quality diabetic foot care.