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Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Diabetic Foot Ulcers — Symptoms and Causes

Diabetic foot ulcers are open sores that often occur when diabetes damages blood vessels and causes a reduced supply of blood to the skin of the feet.

Diabetic Foot Ulcers Symptoms

Diabetic foot ulcers are open wounds on the foot, heel or between the toes. They can be identified by your doctor during a visual examination of your feet. If you have diabetes mellitus, your doctor will examine your feet for signs of infection during your regular checkups. Your doctor should check any foot ulcer that has not begun to heal within seven days.

Diabetic Foot Ulcers Causes

The elevated blood sugar levels that occur with diabetes mellitus damage blood vessels and cause them to thicken and leak. As thickening increases over time, blood vessels are less able to supply the body, especially the skin, with the blood it needs to remain healthy. Known as atherosclerosis, plaque is also more likely to build up in blood vessels and cause poor circulation.

Poor blood supply to the skin often leads to ulcers, especially on the feet. Diabetes foot ulcers are slow to heal and often become deep and infected. They look like painful, red sores and ooze foul-smelling pus when infected.

You can help prevent diabetes foot ulcers by practicing good, foot care. This includes keeping your feet clean and dry daily; cutting your toenails straight across, preferably by a podiatrist; checking your feet daily for any cracks or sores; wearing shoes that fit well; and following your doctor’s treatment plan for controlling your blood sugar levels.