Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Symptoms, Causes, Types, Diagnosis, & Treatment

People with diabetes may develop numbness in their feet, and they might find it difficult to sense these sores or cuts.

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: Jan 12, 2023 14:27 IST
Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Symptoms, Causes, Types, Diagnosis, & Treatment

Diabetic foot ulcer is a condition in which you get open wounds or sores due to uncontrolled diabetes. The tissue of your skin breaks down, eventually exposing the skin underneath. People with diabetes may develop numbness in their feet and may find it difficult to notice these sores or cuts. This can result in complications and, in some cases, also lead to amputations. Read this article to find the symptoms, causes, types, diagnosis and treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.

Symptoms Of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

  • You may witness unusual swelling, redness, odours and face irritation in your feet.
  • You can see blisters or wounds on your foot.
  • You may witness drainage in your foot or drainage of fluid or pus, which may also stain your socks or shoes. 
  • There may be a discolouration of the skin on the area of your feet.
  • Your feet may appear numb
  • You’ll have pain on your legs

Causes Of Diabetic Foot Ulcer

Diabetic foot ulcers can be caused due to various reasons. Some of them are as follows:

Diabetic Neuropathy

You may develop diabetic neuropathy due to increased blood sugar levels. Consequently, you may experience numbness and lose the ability to feel pressure, pain, or temptation. Thus, your wounds may go unnoticed and develop foot ulcers.

Peripheral Artery Disease

Diabetic people may develop a health condition known as peripheral artery disease, in which their arteries narrow down. There is poor circulation of blood in the body which can disrupt the process of healing the ulcers.

Also Read: Chocolates: How Much Is It Safe For People With Diabetes

Types Of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Diabetes foot ulcers can be categorised into two types; neuropathic ulcers and vascular foot ulcers.

Neuropathic Ulcers

Neuropathic foot ulcer is caused when you face sensory nerve damage due to high blood sugar levels in your body. This usually happens if you experience peripheral artery disease.

Vascular Ulcers

Vascular ulcers are caused when the high glucose levels in your body damage your blood vessels and restrict the flow of blood to your feet. 

Diagnosis Of Diabetic Foot Ulcer

To diagnose diabetic foot ulcers, your doctor will ask you about symptoms that you have been facing and will examine your feet, toes, and legs. He may also recommend tests like blood tests, magnetic resonance imaging(MRI), and radiographs to confirm diabetic foot ulcers. 

Also Read: Growing Scare Of Prediabetes In Young Population, Doctor Shares Risks and Prevention Tips

Treatment Of Diabetic foot ulcer

  • Your doctor may ask you to wear foot braces, casts, or shoes designed for diabetics to protect your feet.
  • Removing the dead and infected skin tissue to speed up the healing process.
  • Your doctor may prescribe oral medications or antibiotics to heal your wound.
  • A wheelchair or crutches may be used to offload the weight from the affected foot.
  • In cases when your condition is severe, your doctor may suggest amputation to prevent the infection from spreading to other areas.


Diabetes can impact the overall health of your body and may lead to heart disease, stroke, eye problems, kidney problems, skin infections, and many more. Moreover, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to diabetic foot ulcers, which can have severe effects. To avoid developing diabetes, which can result in diabetic foot ulcers, you should make an effort to maintain low blood sugar levels and eat well.