Telltale Signs of a Diabetic Foot Wound

Nov 01, 2022
Telltale Signs of a Diabetic Foot Wound
Your feet need your daily attention when you have diabetes. Learn more about why people with diabetes are susceptible to foot wounds and how to identify warning signs through routine foot checks.

Diabetic foot wounds are a potentially serious complication of diabetes. About 15-25% of people with diabetics will develop an open sore or foot ulcer in their lifetime and require medical attention.

At Foot and Ankle Specialists, with locations in Houston, The Woodlands, and Huntsville, Texas, our skilled podiatrists have extensive experience caring for wounds and ulcers on your feet. Through our diabetic foot care services, we can treat foot wounds properly to prevent infections that can damage your skin or lead to more serious complications.

Why foot wounds are common in people with diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that causes an elevation in your blood sugar levels. If left uncontrolled, high blood sugar levels can damage your nerves, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. This condition leads to weakness and tingling sensations in the area of your damaged nerves. Eventually, the area may go numb.

Having numbness, especially in your legs and feet, means you can’t feel small cuts or calluses you get from walking around or foot injuries. If you don’t pay attention to these issues, they can worsen.

Because diabetes also affects your healing processes, wounds are slow to heal, increasing your risk for infection. Untreated infections can spread to other parts of your body and also cause the death of tissue (necrosis).

Dead tissue may require surgical removal, or you might need an amputation of your affected toes or your whole foot.

How to recognize a diabetic foot wound

Diabetic foot wounds can form anywhere on your feet, including between your toes. They can start as small cuts or cracks in your skin and can be easy to miss if you don’t do daily foot checks.

Common warning signs of a diabetic foot ulcer include:

  • Swelling
  • Foul odor
  • Pus discharge
  • Red and irritated skin
  • Blood stains in your sock
  • Discolored or blackened skin or toenails

Diabetic foot ulcers can be painful, depending on the severity of your nerve damage.

If you see any of these symptoms during a foot check, schedule an appointment with our team at Foot and Ankle Specialists. We offer comprehensive foot evaluations to assess your wound and treat it properly.

If you put off an evaluation for even a short time, it can lead to an ulcer that’s much more difficult to treat.

Treatment options for diabetic foot ulcers

Our experienced podiatrists offer comprehensive wound care services in-office. We carefully clean and bandage your wound to lower your risk for infection. Your provider can prescribe antibiotics if you already have an infection.

If you have skin damage, we can perform a minimally invasive procedure to remove the damaged tissue.

Our providers also offer educational resources to ensure you know how to care for your feet and help reduce the likelihood of new ulcers. We may recommend custom-fitted orthotics like shoe inserts to relieve pressure on your feet when walking.

It’s also vital that you get your diabetes under control. We can coordinate care with your family doctor and suggest lifestyle and diet changes to keep your blood sugar levels well-controlled. You might also need to take insulin or other medications to regulate your blood sugar.

Call the Foot and Ankle Specialists office near you or schedule a consultation online today for your diabetic foot care.