Diabetic foot ulcers are open, red sores that most often appear on the ball of the foot. They can also appear along the top and bottom of each toe, particularly the bottom of the big toe. Diabetic foot ulcers occur for several reasons, some of which include mechanical changes in bone conformation, peripheral neuropathy, poor circulation or a lack of feeling in the foot, and trauma. Diabetic foot ulcers are responsible for more hospitalizations than any other complication of diabetes, which is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the United States. Approximately 15% of diabetics develop foot ulcers each year. Of that 15%, about 20% will require an amputation.
Anyone with diabetes can develop an ulcer, though patients who use insulin are at higher risk, as well as patients with kidney, eye, and heart disease related to the disease. Because many people who develop diabetic foot ulcers lose the ability to feel pain, pain is not a common symptom. Many times, the first thing you notice is some drainage on your sock. Redness, swelling, and odor may also be associated with it too. If you notice an ulcer, seek podiatric medical attention immediately to reduce the risk of infection or amputation. The main goal in treating foot ulcers is to obtain healing as soon as possible. The faster the wound heals, the less chance for an infection.
At South Lake Pain Institute, we are currently conducting clinical research on the causes, treatments, and prevention of diabetic foot ulcers. If you or someone you know would be interested in assisting us with our research, please contact usor visit our Clinical Research page to fill out the form that is provided to you.
And remember, learning how to check your feet to find a potential problem as early as possible is crucial to preventing diabetic foot ulcers and possible amputation in the future. Inspect your feet every day, especially the sole and between the toes. Look for any cuts, bruises, cracks, blisters, redness, ulcers, and any other signs of abnormality.