Diabetic Foot Ulcer

Definition

Ulcers are slow healing wounds on the skin. Diabetic foot ulcers occur on the feet of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetic foot ulcers usually occur on the bottom of the foot.
Foot Ulcer
Foot Ulcers
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Causes

Diabetes can damage the nerves of the legs and feet. This may make it difficult to feel a blister or sore. If you don't care for a sore it may become larger and infected. Diabetes also can cause problems with blood flow. Poor blood flow can make it difficult to heal. The ulcer itself is usually caused by:
  • Repetitive trauma or pressure on the foot
  • Puncture wound on the foot
  • Objects in the shoe that can damage the skin, such as a small rock

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of diabetic foot ulcers include:
  • Neuropathy—numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in your feet
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)—poor circulation in your legs
  • Improperly fitted shoes
  • A foot deformity
  • Diabetes for more than 10 years
  • Poor diabetes control (HbA1c > 9%)
  • Not wearing shoes
  • A history of smoking

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Sores, ulcers, or blisters on the foot or lower leg
  • Pain
  • Difficulty walking
  • Discoloration in feet: black, blue, or red
  • Fever, skin redness, swelling, or other signs of infection

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