All About Foot Ulcers

What are they?

Foot ulcers are wounds or leisures around the foot and ankle area that either don’t heal or take an excessive amount of time to heal. These ulcers fall into three categories:

  • Venous Ulcers– These ulcers affect the legs below the knees and are most common in people with related venous conditions.
  • Diabetic Foot Ulcers– This ulcer commonly occurs on the bottoms of feet and toes in those with diabetes.
  • Arterial Ulcers– These are common in people with poor circulation and can occur all over the foot.

What are the Symptoms?

Once you have an understanding of what a foot ulcer is, it is important to be able to discuss what is important with your doctor. Some common symptoms for foot ulcers are listed below, according to Health Line.

  • An excessive amount of drainage from the soar. This drainage can leak through your socks and even on to your shoes.
  • A foul odor coming from the ulcer
  • Pain and numbness around the ulcer
  • Black tissue may form around the ulcer
  • An unusual amount of swelling

What are the causes and risk factors?

People with diabetes are always at risk for foot ulcers. However there are other note-worthy risk factors as well to be aware of.

  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity
  • Kidney Disease
  • Poor quality of poorly fitted shoes
  • Smoking

How can they lead to amputation?

The main cause of foot ulcers is peripheral artery disease, or PAD. PAD is when fatty deposits or plaque build up in your arteries and decrease blood flow to your extremities, primarily legs and feet. This causes improper blood flow to the wound, which may prevent healing and may lead to amputation, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

PAD also causes extensive nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy. This nerve damage can prevent you from feeling pain allowing you to continue to put pressure on the soar, increasing the chances of infection. Sometimes, the infected area can cause such extensive damage that it needs to be removed from the body through amputaiton.

How are Foot Ulcers Treated?

Foot ulcers can be healed and treated in different ways, such as diabetic shoes, casts, compression wraps, shoe inserts, medication and surgical procedures, according to Healthline.

Aside from all these risk factors, such as diabetes, kidney disease, PAD, and more, amputation is not your only option. The Amputation Prevention Center at FCCI is a pioneer in preventing unnecessary amputations using endovascular services. Click the link here to learn more about our practice or schedule an appointment.

What can you do to Prevent a Foot Ulcers?

There are a lot of ways to be proactive and reduce your chances of developing foot ulcers. Read these helpful tips below from the AHA.

  • Check your feet daily. Buy a hand-held mirror and make sure to inspect the bottoms of your feet to for any soars.
  • Make sure your feet are clean
  • Choose shoes that fit properly
  • Stop smoking
  • See your doctor regularly. If you would like to set an appointment with FCCI call 904.493.3333