Ulcers are open sores on the skin which occur when the outer layers of skin are injured and irritated. Ulcers can be caused by the pressure of ill-fitted shoes and physical activity, prolonged period of immobilization and injuries. Ulcers are common in patients with diabetes, neuropathies and/or blood circulation disorders. Open wounds can cause a high risk of infection in patients with the previous conditions listed and should be taken with serious care. Diabetic foot issues are a primary focus and issue for patients with diabetes. 15%-25% of diabetic patients will develop a diabetic foot ulcer during their lifetime.
- Redness, inflammation and swelling of the skin
- Drainage, discoloration and odors of the skin
- Possible pain especially when wearing shoes during physical activity
To confirm a diagnosis, the clinician will review the patient’s past medical history, shoewear and perform a physical examination of the foot. X-rays and other imaging studies may also be ordered to evaluate the condition of neighboring bones, nerves and the vascular system.
Ulcers are treated by removal of the unhealthy tissue and cleaning the wound to prevent possible infections and promote healing. Modified shoes, orthotics, padding and daily observation of the area are likely to be ordered to prevent the development of any future ulcers in the area by minimizing friction around the damaged area. Antibiotics may also be necessary if an infection is present. In severe cases, surgery and amputation may be necessary to prevent further infections and the risk of death like in diabetic patients.