Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Causes and Treatments

Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Causes and Treatments

Your feet and toes might occasionally develop ulcers, which are skin lesions that can become infected and take a long time to heal. The likelihood of developing these foot ulcers is higher in diabetics with neuropathy. Amputation of the foot or toes may be necessary if an ulcer becomes infected. Both nonsurgical and surgical treatments may be used to heal the ulcer.

Who develops ulcers on their feet and toes?

While many people can get foot and toe ulcers, Black, Native American, and Hispanic individuals may have them more frequently. Additionally, your risk increases if you have diabetes-related renal, heart, or eye illness. An ulcer usually occurs on the bottom of the foot in 15% of diabetics. Several people even get hospitalised for their severity.

Additionally, having any of the following disorders increases your risk of developing foot and toe ulcers:

  1. Problems with blood flow
  2. Cardiac conditions
  3. Overweight
  4. An issue with the feet, such as hammer toe or bunion
  5. Renal illness
  6. Alcohol and tobacco use are two lifestyle choices that can raise your chance of developing toenails or foot ulcers

What is the appearance of foot and toe ulcers?

Your skin can become open wounds called ulcers in practically any shape. On some bodily parts, some shapes are more common than others. For instance, ulcers on your toe or foot may have a wedge-like or crater-like form.

The colour of ulcers on the foot and toe varies. The colours most often seen are:

  1. Yellow
  2. Pink
  3. Red
  4. Grey
  5. Black

What is the size of ulcers on the toes and feet?

Ulcers come in an array of sizes. In the absence of treatment, they can enlarge to the size of your entire foot from their beginnings as tiny as 1 centimetre wide, or around the size of a pea or a Cheerio.

Additionally, the ulcer’s depth may vary. There are numerous classification schemes for determining the depth of an ulcer. For instance, there are six grades in the Wagner Diabetic Foot Ulcer Grade Classification System:

Grade 0: There is no injury to your skin

Grade 1: The ulcer is “superficial,” indicating that although the skin is broken, the wound is just superficial (in the skin’s outer layers)

Grade 2: The sore is “deep” in the wound

Grade 3: A portion of your bone

Grade 4: You have necrosis or gangrene in the area closest to your toes, on the front of your foot

Grade 5: Gangrene has spread across the entire foot

How are foot and toe ulcers diagnosed?

Based on four observations, your healthcare provider can determine the type of ulcer you have:

  1. The ulcer’s appearance
  2. Where exactly the ulcer is?
  3. The way the borders look
  4. The how the skin around it looks

An ulcer can be diagnosed by your primary care physician, but they may refer you to a specialist for treatment. You may see a wound expert, podiatrist, or other foot-related provider. You may also consult a plastic surgeon, anesthesiologist, orthopaedic surgeon, and/or vascular surgeon for more complex instances requiring surgery.

What tests are carried out to determine if I have a toe or foot ulcer?

To determine the exact depth of the ulcer and determine whether it resulted in an infection in a neighbouring bone, they may request a:

  1. MRI
  2. CT scan
  3. X-ray

Which kinds of ulcers affect the feet and toes?

Your feet and toes may develop one of two forms of ulcers:

  1. Diabetes-related neurotrophic ulcers.
  2. Ischemic (arterial) ulcers.

What causes ulcers on the feet and toes?

There are numerous potential causes of foot and toe ulcers. The most typical reasons consist of:

  1. Diabetic neuropathy
  2. One common bacterial infection is cellulitis
  3. Injury to the toes or feet
  4. Inadequate circulation (resulting from multiple factors)
  5. Peripheral artery dysfunction

What is the treatment for toe and foot ulcers?

All ulcers must first be carefully treat on the skin and feet. It’s crucial to check your skin, especially if you have diabetes. Early detection and treatment of foot and toe sores can help stop the sore from getting worse and from becoming infected. Healing your wound and relieving any pain are the main objectives of treating a foot or toe ulcer. Your ulcer-causing medical condition will determine the specific course of treatment for you. After treatment, your ulcer is likely to return if you can’t tackle the underlying problem.

Foot and toe ulcers can be treated surgically or non-surgically. Nonsurgical treatments may be effective for foot and toe ulcers in their early stages

More advanced ulcers may need surgery, especially if they are infected.


Finding an open sore on your foot or toe might be upsetting. If you have diabetic neuropathy, you may not even feel it and you may not know what caused it. It may also not be healing. Remember that your doctor can effectively treat an ulcer, particularly if it is discover early. Serious consequences may arise from an ulcer if treatment is not received. Keep in mind that it’s critical to regularly examine your feet and toes if you have diabetic neuropathy. Every time you take a shower or get ready to put on shoes, check your feet and toes. In case you discover an ulcer, get in touch with your doctor immediately.