What Causes Diabetic Foot Ulcers? | Examine Your Feet Regularly

With diabetes, your feet are extremely important. Blood circulation is diminished. What Causes Diabetic Foot Ulcers? Diabetic ulcers start due to poor blood circulation which is a form of the vascular disease in which blood doesn’t flow to your feet effectively. This poor circulation can also make it more difficult for ulcers to heal. It’s crucial to know how to prevent foot ulcers and how to treat them if you have them.

The Dangers of Diabetic Ulcers

Diabetic Foot Ulcer
Diabetic Foot Ulcer

Many people with diabetes have the peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which reduces blood flow to the feet. Similarly, many people with diabetes have nerve disease, which reduces sensation.

Collectively, these problems make it easy to get ulcers and infections that may lead to amputation. Therefore, what leads to the ulcer is the lack of healthy blood flow.

A diabetic foot ulcer is caused by neuropathic which is the nerve and vascular which is the blood vessel. Nerve damage due to change or complete loss of feeling in the foot or leg which is known as peripheral neuropathy. This also can cause numbness in your feet.

A diabetic foot ulcer is an open wound that occurs in patients with diabetes and is commonly located on the bottom of the foot. Among those who develop a foot ulcer are hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complication. That’s why it’s vital to check your feet every day!

High glucose levels most often slow down the healing process of an infected foot ulcer, hence blood sugar management is crucial. People with type 2 diabetes frequently have a harder time-fighting infection from ulcers. So the ultimate goal is to lower those blood sugars and keep them controlled. I cannot stress this enough.

An ulcer is an external or internal sore. It is a sign of necrosis that is the death of the tissues at a cellular level.  There are some other kinds of ulcers such as: gastric ulcer, serpent ulcer, bed sores, peptic ulcers, herpes, duodenal ulcers, canker sores and ulcerative colitis to name a few. Whatever the case, ulcers are something you obviously want to and need to avoid.

It is assessed that around one out of ten people with diabetes, develop a foot ulcer at some point. Therefore, patients must be aware of the imminent consequences of leaving a diabetic foot ulcer untreated. Thus, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is vital that you start paying specific attention to caring for your feet and legs as these are the body parts most vulnerable to diabetic complications. I can’t be more serious about this!

Warnings that You May Be Suffering from Diabetic Ulcers

Weight gain
Weight gain

Most often, there are signs and symptoms warning you that you may have leg and foot ulcers and these are: diabetes, obesity or excessive and rapid weight gain, painful swollen and itchy foot or leg, desensitized foot where the nerves lose its senses, and foot deformities like corn, calluses, bunions among others.

Tracing the Causal Factors

Diabetic foot ulcers can be caused by several factors, and one of the most predominant is the undue pressure on the foot that causes stress, and stress, in turn, causes abnormalities and deformities leading to foot ulcers. This is often traced to nerve damage brought by diabetes that results to lack of foot feeling. It’s important to keep your eyes on everything all the time!

Preventive Measures

One of the best things to do is to address diabetic foot ulcers at their earliest stages to prevent serious complications that can lead to amputation. There are some foot exercises that you can do, although you have to be careful not to exercise your feet too much. You can as well consult with your health practitioner to determine the most suitable foot exercise for your condition.

Another preventive measure is to avoid the infection to seep in. Foot ulcers are considered as wounds that are hard to heal, and as a matter of urgency, these wounds should be treated, especially the open type wounds that can be used by bacteria and fungi infections as their gateway.

One effective way to treat these wounds is to apply a topical solution such as that of Derma natural skin care products to the wound that can halt any bacterial or fungal activity while healing your wounds fast.

Foot Care Tips

It is very essential and important for people with diabetic foot ulcers to maintain a regular foot care routine to stop and prevent the condition from worsening and to free your body, feet, and legs from any risks of complications from the condition with the following tips:

Do a daily check of your legs and feet, and be alert of the signs and symptoms such as loss of feeling, foot skin deformities, swelling and redness that are usually associated with pain and itching, wounds that are hard to heal. Don’t rush. Do a thorough examination.

Implement the right foot care routine such as proper cleaning of the feet, keeping your nails trimmed and short, treating wounds, and keeping your blood sugar at its favorable level.

Signs and Symptoms of a Diabetic Foot Ulcer

Foot Blisters
Foot Blisters

It is important to note that when the nerves in the foot are functioning well, then the ulcer will be painful. But if the nerves are damaged, pain may not be felt. Therefore, the ulcer may not be noticed, more particularly if it is located on a less visible portion of the foot.

Blisters are seen on the foot or lower leg. The diabetic foot ulcer may look like a red crater or depression in the skin. In more advanced ulcers, it can be deep enough to expose the tendons or even the bones. Sometimes, the crater can be bordered by a margin of callused or thick skin.

Another sign that may point to foot ulcer is difficulty in walking. Doctors also check the gait to see any lower leg abnormalities that can cause ulcers. Any difference in walking consult your doctor right away!

It makes the person’s skin more apt to changes like cracking, scaling, and excessive skin dryness may mean that circulation to the skin is compromised.

Also, signs and symptoms like swollen feet may also come with diabetic ulcers. This is usually accompanied by tired, aching legs. With chronic venous stasis, the lower legs are usually edematous and there may be hyperpigmentation of the skin.

Do to diabetic complications, decreased circulation may lead to temperature changes, either increased warmth or coolness. If there is an ongoing infection, then the patient may have fever, chills, redness, and the wound may have drainage.

Diabetic foot ulcers can be serious and can take a long time to heal especially if blood glucose levels are not under control. When foot ulcers get worse infections are likely to occur. Therefore, you are advised to get treatment early to avoid more serious problems.

See your podiatrist if you suspect an ulcer has formed. If you have a foot sore or wound that has not started to get significantly better in a month, see visit an advanced wound care center.

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Why Diabetic Foot Ulcers are so Bad:

  1. Patients tend not to initially feel them and this allows the ulcer to grow wider and deeper rather than the ulcer actually grows and become complicated
  2. Diabetes usually has complications that tend to reduce healing, therefore try to avoid cutting of any kind in your body.
  3. Anyone with diabetes has a normally reduced immunity
  4. In some cases, the circulation is poor to allow adequate healing
  5. Any diabetic ulcer takes a long time to heal.
  6. Peradventure the ulcer is healed it will take 2 years to heal the underlying structures. Meaning that the area is fragile and the occurrence of another ulcer on the same site is quite high.
  7. The infection can also raise blood sugars, as well as stress.

How to Prevent Foot Diabetes

The easiest way to prevent foot ulcer is to spot them early. If you have diabetes, It should be part of a daily routine to examine your feet, by checking in between the toes as well as on the bottom of your feet.

You’ll want to use a mirror to make sure you get a visual of every spot. Examine very carefully!

This can be prevented by keeping your feet as clean as possible. Wash your foot every day with warm water and mild soap. When you are through with washing them, then dry them thoroughly with a towel. You should not allow moisture to be lingering around.

Speaking of moisture, the bottom of your feet and heels is typically dry. Use lubricants in these areas to keep this dryness from becoming a problem. The reason is because skin that is very dry is more apt to crack easier and that is an opening for microorganisms that are harmful and can lead to infection.

As a diabetic patient, the type of shoes you wear is important because it will aid in preventing foot ulcers. You want to make sure that your shoes are the proper fit so that they aren’t too loose or too tight. It’s very important that your shoes are comfortable and you have enough room, but too tight enough is going to cause issues because they will rub up against your skin.

A pair of socks should be worn always with your shoes. Your socks need to be clean, so wear a new pair on a daily basis.

It is important to wear shoes at all times if you have diabetes. Even minor injuries can cause trouble, hence need to be wearing shoes to prevent them. Inspection of the interior of the shoes before you put them on should be done to ensure no wayward objects are inside. This should become a daily habit.

You shouldn’t smoke at all if you want to prevent foot diabetes. Smoking dramatically decreases circulation, especially in your lower extremities. Reduced blood flow may lead to sensation problems in your feet.

In a nutshell, it’s important that you see your podiatrist once a year for an extensive examination of your feet, as the doctor will look for any indications about whether or not diabetic foot ulcers will be an issue for you or not.

Final Thoughts about Diabetic Ulcers

What Causes Diabetic Foot Ulcers? It’s all about being attentive to the condition of your feet and examining them daily. Do what is needed to avoid and prevent foot ulcers and you’ll avoid the more serious consequences with diabetic foot ulcers. This is extremely important!

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Home » Health Tips » What Causes Diabetic Foot Ulcers? | Examine Your Feet Regularly

Rob Sciubba

Rob Sciubba - Founder of NaturalWaystoLowerBloodSugar.com

Rob is an blogger who has type 2 diabetes and wants to spread the word treating diabetes. For the past 3 years he has provided valuable information about diabetes and lowering blood sugars and continues to offer additional ways to treat diabetes.

If you’re serious about treating your diabetes and lowering your blood sugars the natural ways, then you will learn from his website.

16 thoughts on “What Causes Diabetic Foot Ulcers? | Examine Your Feet Regularly”

  1. I never knew it was called foot diabetes. My girlfriends dad got, what it looked like an ulcer. He never took care of it for some reason and a hole started to develop in his foot! It was so gross but he finally went to the doctor to get it fixed and to start the process of healing. Those things don’t look fun at all.

    • Hi Nate,

      With diabetes you can develop ulcers in your feet if you don’t control your sugars and take care of your diabetes.

      It’s so important to check your feet daily and to do a thorough examination to make sure they are clean and in good health.

      Of course having your feet examined by a podiatrist regularly is a smart thing to do. Foot ulcers are not something to ignore. It’s vital to stay on top of your foot health!

      Appreciate your thoughts 🙂 Thank you!

  2. I just thought I read through your website because my mother she’s diabetic, as I would like to say this is very informative content. When I read more how you talk about excessive dry skin, scaling and excessive skin dryness which may mean that circulation to the skin is compromised. I have this dry skin on my back heel, and it’s not going away. I have tried a few things with no luck, should I be worried? Thanks.

    • Hey Otis,

      Since your mom is diabetic she should be having her feet checked frequently.

      Foot ulcers are nothing to ignore. A foot examination by a podiatrist should be done.

      As far as dry skin goes with your heel? I’m not a doctor but I would think that if you don’t have any other symptoms for diabetes, it probably isn’t something to be concerned about.

      To be sure, discuss it with your doctor 🙂

      Thank you for your comments 🙂

  3. My friend was just admitted to the hospital because her feet swelled up,and she couldn’t get the swelling down.  She didn’t now what was going on, and the doctors have literally given her no information whatsoever, and she’s in our most renowned hospitals, Albany Medical Center in Albany NY.  I’m researching all I can for her, and your article does say that swelling is a sign of diabetes problems. She really struggles with diabetes,and so I’m going to tell her to make sure she checks for ulcers.  Thanks, again, for great information to help her!

    • Hey Babs 🙂

      I’m sorry that your friend is going through this right now. The swelling can sure be from the diabetes.

      Is she monitoring her blood sugars? Because she should also be checking her feet daily to make sure she doesn’t have ulcers or blisters. I sure hope that isn’t the case for her.

      It doesn’t sound good that the swelling won’t subside. I’d be curious as to what her doctor says.

      Thank you for sharing 🙂

  4. Hi there, thank you for the very helpful article! With one of my family members being diabetic this has and will be very helpful! I understand this can be quite annoying and putting out helpful information like this is always a good thing! What do you think the most important thing to focus on with diabetic foot syndrome is?

    • Hi Kohl 🙂

      Diabetic foot ulcers are nothing to ignore at all. Everything about diabetes must be taken seriously Kohl.

      Anytime you know someone with diabetes, you’d be doing them a world of good by sharing such articles as these.

      The more someone knows, the better off they are with treating something such as foot ulcers.

      The most important thing that I feel about diabetic foot syndrome is prevention and action. Know what to look for and do what you have to do with diabetes before it happens.

      Thanks for your feedback 🙂

  5. Good job of posting over diabetic ulcers. 

    I myself suffer from diabetes and have a hard time with my feet, I do not have ulcers at this point but I do suffer from neuropathy. Being diabetic does create certain challenges when it comes to one’s feet. Thanks for the info and providing another thing I should be on the look out for but will have great info if this happens to me. 

    • Hey Todd,

      Sorry that you too are suffering from diabetes. I know it all too well. I am attacking the diabetes and neuropathy with everything I can.

      It’s crucial to check your feet everyday and keep them clean and dry from possible ulcers.

      I have some articles on my website about neuropathy that may help you too Todd. Check them out.

      There’s a ton of information on my website that can help you. Good luck!

      Thanks for your comments!

  6. Thanks for the very informative piece, there is a whole lot to learn about managing diabetes and foot ulcer is one of them. My dad has been managing diabetes for over 20 years plus now and has not had any symptoms of foot ulcer thanks to his constant medication.

    The preventive measures expressed in this article are quite important.

    • Hello Zuchii,

      I feel it’s very crucial for folks with diabetes to know about the possibilities of foot ulcers.

      I check my feet every day to make sure they are clean and free from any ulcers.

      I hope your dad is okay with the diabetes and that it’s under control.

      Medications can help but the natural methods of treatment are always the best.

      I thank you for sharing 🙂

  7. Wow, very insightful in diabetic ulcers. One must really adjust their lifestyle in order to prevent diabetes from happening in the first place. It’s very sad to hear people becoming victims to this disease. If they could adjust their routine by integrating cardio and exercise and eating healthy, they would lead a healthier lifestyle. But I do have a question, are people inclined to get diabetes due to their genetics and is it something they can control?



    • Hey JD,

      Diabetic ulcers are horrible and serious if you don’t watch and take care of them.

      With diabetes, if you don’t check your feet every day, you might not know if you even have a foot ulcer or not.

      And I agree that is very sad that this terrible disease is so rampant today and if more people did exercise and eat healthier, it would be a different story.

      As far as diabetes goes, you can either inherit it (as in type 1 diabetes) or you can develop it usually from a poor lifestyle. 

      Prevention is easier than treatment.

      Appreciate your thoughts! Thank you 🙂

  8. Growing up I used to hear older ones say take care of your feet. To keep toenails trimmed and feet moisturized. Reading this information brings back memories of my grandfather. He was diabetic and always made sure to check his skin for ulcers/sores. 

     I like that you talk about prevention. It is good to know that there are measures we can take action on for better health. 

    • Hi there!

      I know what you mean. I used to hear the same things when I was growing up.

      It was so important to take care of our feet and it’s crucial to check your feet daily if you are a diabetic.

      One of the best things type 2 diabetics can do is to prevent ulcers before having to treat them.

      Controlling your diabetes and checking your blood sugars frequently are the smartest things to do!

      Thank you for sharing!  🙂


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