Check your feet for signs of a diabetic ulcer | Idaho PodiatristIf you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is crucially important that you perform daily checks on your feet to look for problem areas. One issue you should be checking for is diabetic ulcers, which are wounds that do not heal on their own. 

Determining Your Risk of Developing Foot Ulcers

Several factors can place a diabetic at higher risk for developing foot ulcers. These include:

  • Wearing poorly fitted or poor quality footwear
  • Not washing feet often enough
  • Failing to thoroughly dry feet after they get wet
  • Improper toenail care
  • Alcohol or tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Heart or kidney disease
  • Eye issues associated with diabetes

Signs of a Diabetic Ulcer

Diabetic ulcers are most frequently found on the ball of the foot or beneath the large toe. The first signs of a diabetic ulcer include:

  • Drainage or blood in your sock or shoe
  • Swelling
  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Unpleasant odors

If the ulcer has become more severe, you might also notice eschar, black tissue that surrounds the ulcer. Gangrene, which is tissue death due to infections, can also occur in diabetics who develop foot ulcers. These symptoms may be accompanied by a smelly discharge, pain, and numbness.foot ulcer

Get Medical Care Immediately

If you suspect that you might have a diabetic ulcer on your foot or leg, it is important to seek medical treatment right away. The feet of a diabetic person are often not able to heal after even minor injuries and problems can quickly become unmanageable. 

If left untreated, what started as a small diabetic ulcer can eventually lead to:

  • Infection
  • Hospitalization
  • Amputation
  • Death

How Can a Podiatrist Help With Diabetic Ulcers?

The podiatrists at Canyon Foot + Ankle in Burley and Twin Falls, Idaho are trained in advanced wound care and can use technology like diagnostic X-rays performed in-house to determine the severity of the issue, which might be more significant than is visible from outside the foot. They can offer MLS laser treatment, a painless option for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. They may also recommend some wound treatments you can do at home, which might include:

  • Antibacterial creams
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  • Rest

Preventing Diabetic Ulcers

There are several things that a diabetic can do to reduce their risk of developing foot ulcers and other diabetic foot issues. 

Do Not Walk Barefootulcer measurement

Diabetics should avoid walking barefoot whenever possible. Neuropathy, a common condition in diabetics, can make it difficult for you to feel the bottoms of your feet. If your foot is injured, you may not notice right away because you cannot feel the scratch, cut, splinter, etc.

Invest in Shoes, Socks, and Orthotics Designed for Diabetics

Shoes bought off the rack can often create friction and cause injury. Socks not produced for diabetics do not help with wicking away moisture or improving circulation. Mass-produced orthotics aren’t able to account for foot variations that exist from person to person. Diabetic shoes, socks, and custom orthotics can help with circulation, preventing injuries, and keeping feet dry. 

Keep Your Feet Clean

Use soap and water to wash your feet every day. Dry thoroughly before putting on socks and shoes. 

Inspect Your Feet Daily

Look for signs of blisters, callouses, corns, cuts, swelling, or other injuries. If you see injuries, be sure to start treating them right away and call your podiatrist for an appointment.


Use lotion on your feet after washing and consider moisture-wicking socks. If you are not sure what type of lotion to use, the podiatrists at Canyon Foot + Ankle can make recommendations.

Keep Toenails Trimmed

This can reduce the risk of issues resulting from ingrown nails.

Visit a Podiatrist Regularly

Schedule an annual checkup with your podiatrist and reach out any time you suspect there is reason for concern. The podiatrists at Canyon Foot + Ankle in Twin Falls and Burley, Idaho can offer treatments to help with neuropathy, such as Neurogenx, and they can help you manage small concerns that arise so that they do not become life-changing issues.

Cory Pilling
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Dr. Cory Pilling treats a range of foot and ankle ailments.