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5 Common Symptoms of Foot Ulcers

September 24, 2018

Foot ulcers are one of the most common and serious complications of diabetes. About 15 percent of people with diabetes develop foot ulcers in their lifetime.

When you have diabetes, you are more at risk for foot injuries. Over time, your blood vessels and nerves can become damaged and you can lose feeling in your feet. This is called diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). This can cause problems because you may no longer feel if you get a cut or scrape and the injury can get worse and you may develop a foot ulcer.

Besides managing your blood sugar and doing daily foot checks, it’s important to be able to know what some of the common symptoms of a foot ulcer a This can help you know what to look for. They are commonly found on the side or bottom of the foot, or near the big toe. The ulcers resemble large red crates in the skin.

Here are some of the key symptoms to check for:

1) Body Fever and Chills

Like most infections, a developing foot ulcer may cause you to feel fever or chills. This is part of your body’s natural defense system.

2) Pain in Infected Area

While checking areas of your feet, you may notice an area that might feel painful and tender, sensitive, or firm to the touch. This is a sign of infection and a possible foot ulcer.

3) Unusual Swelling

In addition to pain around the wound or infected area, you may also notice swelling or irritation not normally on your foot. Look also for thickened skin or calluses. If something seems unusual or you have questions about any swelling, always check with your doctor.

4) Discoloration

This is one of the most noticeable signs of a foot ulcer. Black tissue called eschar often appears around a wound because blood flow is not getting to your feet. Another kind of discoloration to look for is gangrene, which happens when skin tissue dies due to the infection. Look for any changes in skin color, which can range from pale to blue, purple, black, bronze or red, depending on the type of gangrene you might have.

5) Drainage from the Foot

If you have a foot ulcer, you may see discharge seeping from the wound that might leak out of your shoe, stain your socks, or smell. If you spot any drainage from a wound on your foot, contact your doctor immediately.

For more tips on how to take care of your feet, read our latest post on managing diabetic neuropathy.

If you think you have a foot ulcer, contact your doctor immediately. Treatment is different from person to person. If you have diabetes, make sure that you see a podiatrist at least once a year. Your podiatrist can help you learn about your specific risks when it comes to foot ulcers.

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