Diabetic foot ulcers are usual complications of diabetes that is poorly controlled. The ulcers form due to the breakdown of skin and exposure of the underlying tissues. It typically forms beneath the big toes and balls of the feet and can affect the feet down to the bones.
All individuals with diabetes might develop diabetic foot ulcers along with pain but proper foot care can prevent them. The treatment is based on the cause.
What are the indications?
A characteristic indication of diabetic foot ulcers is drainage from the foot that can stain the socks or leak out of the shoe. Other common initial symptoms include irritation, unusual swelling, odors and redness from one or both feet.
One of the evident indications of a serious foot ulcer is blackened tissue (eschar) surrounding the ulcer. This form due to the lack of normal blood flow to the region adjacent the ulcer. Incomplete or full gangrene can develop around the ulcer. In such instances, odorous drainage, pain and numbness can occur.
The indications of diabetic foot ulcers are not always evident. Oftentimes, the symptoms are not present until it becomes infected.
What are the causes of diabetic foot ulcers?
The diabetic foot ulcers are typically caused by the following:
- Nerve damage – this lowers the sensitivity to foot pain and results to a painless wound that can cause ulcer formation
- Poor circulation – there is not enough blood flowing to the feet which makes it hard for the ulcers to heal
- Irritated or wounded feet
- High blood sugar – this can slow down the healing process of infected diabetic foot ulcers
It is important to note that diabetic foot ulcers can be recognized by the leakage in the affected region and oftentimes a lump that is not painful is present. In addition, dry skin is prevalent among those with diabetes. This makes the feet more susceptible to cracking. This leads to the formation of corns and calluses as well as bleeding wounds.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on diabetic foot ulcers is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this complication of diabetes by taking a standard first aid course with Toronto First Aid.