Sunday, December 15, 2013

Diabetic Foot Ulcer Signs and Symptoms

One of the complications of diabetes is foot ulcer. It is estimated that around one out of ten people with diabetes develop a foot ulcer at some point. Therefore, patients must be aware of the impending consequences of leaving a diabetic foot ulcer untreated.
When high blood glucose levels are left uncontrolled for prolonged periods, there can be damage to various parts of the body. One of the common things that can develop is foot problems. Even the ones that seem negligible such as blisters, peeling skin, cracked heels, calluses, and athlete's foot must be seen and evaluated by a physician.
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetic foot ulcer?
If the nerves in the foot are functioning well, then the ulcer will be painful. If the nerves are damaged, pain may not be felt. In this case, the ulcer may not be noticed, more particularly if it is located on a less visible portion of the foot.
Sores or blisters are seen on the foot or lower leg. The diabetic foot ulcer may look like a red crater or depression in the skin. In more advanced ulcers, it can be deep enough to expose the tendons or even the bones. Sometimes, the crater can be bordered by a margin of callused or thick skin.
Difficulty walking is another sign that may point to foot ulcer. The gait is also checked by the doctor to see any lower leg abnormalities that can cause ulcers.
Cold feet means that circulation is impaired. Discoloration in the feet, such as having purplish or bluish color may mean ischemia.
Skin changes like cracking, scaling, and excessive skin dryness may mean that circulation to the skin is compromised.
Swollen feet may also come with diabetic ulcers. This is often accompanied by tired, aching legs. With chronic venous stasis, the lower legs are usually edematous and there may be hyper pigmentation of the skin.
Decreased circulation because of diabetic complications may lead to temperature changes, either increased warmth or coolness. If there is an ongoing infection, then the patient may have fever, chills, redness, and the wound may have drainage.
Diabetic foot ulcers can be serious. They can take a long time to heal especially if blood glucose levels are not under control. Foot ulcers can get worse and infections are likely to occur. Therefore, it is important to get treatment early to avoid more serious problems. See your podiatrist if you suspect an ulcer has formed.
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