A Closer Look at Diabetic Leg and Foot Ulcers

About 15% of people with diabetes develop a nonhealing skin wound (ulcer) on their legs or feet according to estimates cited by the American Podiatric Medical Association. And about 6% of them eventually require hospitalization due to infection or other complications.

Vascular specialist, Dr. Nirav Patel and our team at Premier Vascular in Yonkers and Jackson Heights, New York, provide exceptional care for nonhealing wounds. He is Chief of Vascular Surgery and Medical Director of the Wound Healing Center at St. John’s Riverside Hospital.

Our top-level wound care expert shares the following about diabetic ulcers.

What is a diabetic ulcer?

Most commonly appearing on the lower legs or bottoms of the feet, diabetic ulcers are open sores or wounds that simply do not heal. The ulcerations may become quite painful and make it hard to stand or walk.

An ulcer may start as a:

Without proper treatment, a diabetic ulcer may lead to a life-threatening infection that can spread to the bone (osteomyelitis) or into the bloodstream (sepsis). This can eventually result in amputation.

What causes diabetic ulcers?

Issues associated with long-term or uncontrolled diabetes are often at the root of diabetic foot and leg ulcers.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), for instance, is a common complication of diabetes that affects your ability to accurately sense pain.  

Typically beginning in the lower legs and feet, peripheral neuropathy can make it impossible to feel a blister, skin abrasion, or cut on the foot. Without attention, the area can quickly become infected or develop into an ulcer.         

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is another issue that often develops in those with diabetes. PAD causes narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to your legs, limiting the availability of oxygen and other critical nutrients your body uses to heal skin wounds and fight infection.

Varicose veins and other conditions that affect your veins, the blood vessels that transport blood back to the heart, also increase your risk of developing leg swelling and skin changes that may lead to ulcers.

Skin made more fragile by diabetes is also susceptible to friction wounds caused by walking in tightly fitting shoes or those without adequate cushioning. Self-treatment of corns and calluses can also cause wounds that develop into foot ulcers.

How do you treat diabetic foot and leg ulcers?

Our team at Premier Vascular offers a full range of wound care services that, depending on the nature of your ulcer, may include:  

Dr. Patel can also provide treatment to help address the underlying cause of your ulcer, such as minimally invasive angioplasty for PAD. He also develops a home care strategy that speeds wound healing and helps prevent future issues.

Don’t wait to schedule a visit with Dr. Patel at Premier Vascular if you’re struggling with diabetic-related skin, nerve, or vascular changes. Call one of our New York offices or click the “request appointment” button.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Different Types of Nonhealing Wounds

Chronic wounds are a significant source of disability and potentially life-threatening infection for millions of Americans. Read about the causes, symptoms, and treatments available for the most common types of nonhealing wounds.

Do You Have Peripheral Arterial Disease?

When you’re worried about artery disease, it makes sense to focus on those that supply blood to your heart. Were you aware, though, that narrowing of your peripheral arteries can also threaten your health? Here’s what you need to know.

Types of Ultrasound Used to Diagnose Your Condition

Is there an in-office test your vascular specialist can use to identify what’s causing the swelling, pain, and skin changes occurring in your legs? How about one that’s noninvasive and painless? Check out these facts about vascular ultrasounds.

Five Telltale Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Do your legs throb and burn at night? Having problems with flaky skin on your calves that doesn’t respond to your typical moisturizer? Our vascular specialist discusses these and other symptoms that often occur along with varicose veins.

Understanding Endovascular Procedures

Have you been referred to a vascular surgeon for an endovascular procedure? Confused about what’s involved in this type of surgery and how it compares to traditional surgery? Our expert team explains the difference.

All About VenaSeal™

Tired of hiding your legs from view because of varicose veins? Or maybe you’re fed up with the burning and throbbing leg discomfort linked to faulty veins? Explore the many benefits of minimally invasive VenaSeal™ vein treatment.