Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Why They Occur And How To Prevent This Serious Diabetes Complication

Date December 8, 2017

What are diabetic foot ulcers and foot pain?

Diabetes is a lifelong chronic metabolic disorder that is followed by problems with the hormone insulin. When your pancreas is healthy, it produces insulin to help your body store and use glucose from the food you eat.

In diabetes, your pancreas releases too little insulin or doesn’t produce it at all. It is accompanied by increased levels of sugar in your blood. High blood sugar can result in damaging of small blood vessels that may negatively affect your kidney, heart, eyes and nervous system. Diabetes has many serious complications, including diabetic foot ulcers and foot pain.

Diabetic foot ulcers are quite common. Experts say that this problem affects 15% of people with diabetes during their lifetime. In some cases, it can lead to amputation, that’s why it is very important to know more about diabetic foot problems and their prevention.

What exactly does diabetes do with your feet?

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels typically cause nerve damage. If it involves your limbs, you might not feel pain or cold. Doctors call this condition “sensory diabetic neuropathy.” In other words, if you get hurt, you don’t feel it due to neuropathy, and your wounds can get infected easily. In addition, your muscles may not work properly.

This, in turn, can create excessive pressure in certain areas of the foot and it may lead to chronic foot ulcers.

Poor blood circulation also plays a huge role. One of the complications of diabetes is the peripheral vascular disease. In this condition, blood doesn’t flow to the arms and feet as it supposed to be. It means that cuts, wounds, and ulcers may take a lot of time to heal. In some cases, they don’t improve without antibiotics.

What can you do at home to prevent diabetic foot problems.

Foot care can help prevent foot pain and foot ulcers, but blood sugar management is essential. Consult with your doctor about your treatment plan. He or she may also advise you special measures to protect your feet, including diabetic shoes, casts, and compression wraps. Other health conditions increase your risk of foot infections, so don’t forget to talk about your health history too.

Here are several useful tips for a good foot care at home:

  • again and again, monitor your blood sugar level and follow your doctor’s recommendations. Pay attention to what you eat and how active you are. Regular exercises and medications can make you feel better;
  • try to avoid too hot water while washing your feet. Don’t soak your feet. Dry them well, particularly between the toes;
  • keep an eye on any sores, blisters, calluses or irritated areas. If you experience problems with blood circulation, it is very important;
  • if you smoke, quit. Tobacco can make your vascular problems even worse;
  • if you notice a foot problem that doesn’t improve, contact your doctor as soon as possible;
  • visit your foot doctor every three months for regular examinations.


Foot pain and foot ulcers are treatable when they are caught in the early stages. That’s why it is crucial to visit your doctor if you notice that something is wrong with your feet. Diabetes foot ulcers may lead to untreatable infections, so don’t wait too long.

Source: WebMD, Healthline, EMedicineHealth

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.