Diabetic Foot Ulcer

People with diabetes have a higher chance of getting foot ulcers, or wounds. Providers and specialists at MaineHealth offer diabetes patients the most effective treatments and programs to help manage diabetic complications.

What is a diabetic foot ulcer?

A diabetic foot ulcer (or wound) is an open sore usually found on the bottom of the foot. These wounds can get infected and cause further complications. Foot infections can lead to the need for hospital care and in severe cases the loss of a limb.

All people with diabetes are at risk for developing foot ulcers. But some people are at higher risk than others:

  • Older men

  • People who are overweight

  • Patients who use insulin

  • People with African-American, Native American or Hispanic ancestry

  • Patients with other long-term medical conditions, including kidney disease, eye disease and heart disease

  • People whose diabetes are not well controlled.

Many times people with foot ulcers don’t have symptoms due to loss of feeling in their foot. Often the first thing people will notice with an ulcer is drainage of fluid in their socks.

There may be some swelling and redness.

Healing the ulcer quickly will lower the risk of infection. It is important to see your doctor right away.

Treatment of a foot ulcer includes the following:

  • Removing surrounding dead skin and tissue (debridement)

  • Cleaning the area

  • Taking pressure off of the wound (off-loading)

  • Using medication

  • Keeping blood sugar levels under control