Diabetes and Foot Ulcers

Diabetes and Foot Ulcers

Diabetes is a disease where the body does not make enough insulin. The body needs insulin to break down sugar. Too much sugar will stay in your blood stream and can harm your body.

Risk Factors

  • Being overweight
  • Genetics

Signs and Symptoms

  • Thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Sugar in the urine
  • High blood sugar
  • Being tired


Diabetes is a chronic disease. It requires medical attention. The patient must also manage the disease. You may get a wound that may not heal. A wound may not heal from infection, poor blood flow and problem with nerves. These symptoms take time to notice. The nerve problem can cause pain. Or, you may not feel any pain in your lower legs and feet. You may even have numbness and tingling. Diabetes can also harm your eyes.


  • Weight control
  • Exercise
  • Watch blood sugar levels
  • Take insulin or anti-diabetes medication
  • See your healthcare provider as ordered


  • Review of your history and physical
  • Review of your signs and symptoms and lab results

About Diabetic Ulcers

A diabetic ulcer is a wound that occurs on the feet, heel or toes of people with diabetes. Many times, there is little to no feeling in the feet or to the ulcer itself. A pulse is present and the skin is normal or warm to the touch. The skin on the legs and feet may be dry and flaky.

You may have an ulcer that has not started to heal in two weeks. It may not completely heal in six weeks. Your ulcer might need special care.

What to Do

  • Maintain good blood sugar control
  • Inspect your feet daily
  • Avoid over-the-counter products to treat your feet
  • Trim your toenails straight across only
  • Avoid cutting on your ulcers or callouses yourself
  • Dress your ulcer as ordered by your doctor
  • Wear shoes that protect your ulcer and do not cause rubbing or pressure
  • Notify your physician if the ulcer becomes red or develops drainage, swelling or warmth to the area, or if you develop a fever over 101 degrees F
  • Wear off-loading shoes, boots or casts, as directed by your doctor, to assist in healing your ulcer