When should I call my doctor if I have diabetic foot ulcers?

Douglas S. Denham, DO
Family Medicine

Diabetic foot ulcers are one of the complications associated with diabetes mellitus. They can have multiple and interrelated causes. Most commonly they are the result of decreased sensation in the lower extremities. As a consequence of decreased sensation in the feet, any injury can go undetected and can eventually become an ulcer that can become infected and require care. Other complications of diabetes can also play a part in ulcers and the ability to heal them. Atherosclerosis of the arties of the lower extremity can result in decreased blood flow to the foot and this can impede healing. Poorly controlled diabetes also can affect the ability of the body to heal. Also physical effects such as poorly fitting shoes, not wearing shoes or poor hygiene can contribute to foot ulcers in diabetics.

So what can a diabetic do to prevent foot ulcers? First, check your feet every night, or if you can’t see your feet, have someone else look at them for you. Look for signs of infection, redness, cuts, drainage from the skin. Second, keep your feet clean with soap and water. Next, wear shoes that fit well and are comfortable. Also, keep your diabetes under control.

If you see any of the above, notify your physician immediately. Early care and treatment will dramatically improve the time of healing. Left untreated can result in infections of not only the skin, but the boney tissues and result in amputations.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.