Diabetic foot ulcer
A diabetic foot ulcer is a serious wound. It requires proper care
and attention to avoid infection, which can lead to a stay in the
hospital, and in severe cases, amputation.
There are two main causes of diabetic foot ulcers:
- Neuropathy (noo-ROP-a-thee)
, which is nerve damage that leads to a loss of feeling. Without
feeling in your feet, you may not notice when you hurt your foot,
which may result in your injury going untreated. Walking on an
untreated injury is the most common cause of diabetic foot ulcers.
- Poor circulation in your legs and feet
can affect very small blood vessels that feed the skin. The lack of
healthy blood flow may lead to poor skin repair, allowing the skin
to break down and not heal properly, resulting in a sore.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Because diabetic foot ulcers are quite often painless, it is not
unusual for people to have had a wound for a while before going to
the doctor. This can lead to more complications, because people with
diabetes are prone to infections of the ulcer and the surrounding
Diabetic foot ulcers are rated between 0 and 3, depending on
0. At risk foot with no ulcer
1. Shallow ulcer with no infection
2. Deep ulcer, exposing tendons and joints
3. Extensive ulcer or abscesses
What are the treatments for
diabetic foot ulcer?
The standard treatment for a diabetic foot ulcer is often a mix of
cleaning and removing dead tissue from the wound (debridement), the
application of moist dressings, and rest. Antibiotics will be
prescribed if there is an infection. The ulcer must be protected
from further injury until it heals. This may include keeping weight
off the feet until the wound is healed. Real effort must be made to
avoid another ulcer by wearing correct footwear and frequently
examining the skin. Although healing of wound may take time, lack of
healing progress after 3-4 weeks (ulcer is not decreasing in size or
moving towards closure) is a sign that the current treatment regimen
is not working, and treatment with Apligraf®
should be considered.
Apligraf®, when combined
with standard treatment, has been shown to heal more diabetic foot
ulcer. Of course, as with any medical condition, it is better to
prevent a diabetic foot ulcer than to have to treat one. To learn
more about prevention, click
Here for Examples of Diabetic Foot Ulcers...
To discover more resources for diabetes and diabetic foot
ulcers, click here.