What is a Diabetic Foot Ulcer?

Diabetic foot ulcers are open sores or wounds on the skin’s surface that do not heal promptly or easily, unlike normal wounds. They require significant time for healing, often resulting in a slow and painful process. While ulcers commonly occur on the feet and hands, they can also affect other areas such as the abdominal folds. These ulcers are a consequence of high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes.

Despite some considering ulcers a minor issue compared to the overarching condition of diabetes, we strongly disagree. Untreated or unprotected ulcers can become infected, potentially leading to gangrene—the death of skin tissue. Gangrene often necessitates the amputation of the affected body part. Therefore, it is crucial to take diabetic foot ulcers seriously.

Definition of Diabetic Foot Ulcer

A diabetic foot ulcer occurs when elevated blood sugar levels increase the likelihood of developing ulcers. The damage caused by high blood sugar or glucose levels affects blood vessels, resulting in a sluggish healing process. Additionally, diabetes damages the nerves responsible for sensing pain. This nerve damage prevents individuals from noticing small wounds, which can escalate into more severe ulcers. Diabetic foot ulcers primarily manifest due to reduced sensation and delayed healing, particularly in the feet.

While diabetic foot ulcers may initially appear insignificant, they have the potential to become serious complications. Therefore, timely identification and treatment are essential.

Symptoms of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Diabetic foot ulcers often present with various signs and symptoms, including:

  • Persistent pain or discomfort in the feet, particularly in specific areas.
  • Open sores or wounds on the feet that are slow to heal or do not heal at all.
  • Redness, swelling, or warmth around the affected area.
  • Drainage or discharge from the ulcer, which may be accompanied by a foul odor.
  • Formation of calluses or corns around the ulcer site.
  • Changes in skin color or texture, such as shiny or glossy skin.
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the feet, indicating nerve damage.
  • Fever or chills if the ulcer becomes infected.

Causes of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

The causes of diabetic foot ulcers include:

  • Elevated blood sugar or glucose levels, which hinder the body’s healing process, thus contributing to ulcer formation.
  • Nerve damage, a significant factor leading to loss of sensation. Reduced sensitivity increases the likelihood of developing complex ulcers.
  • Poor blood circulation, commonly experienced by individuals with high blood sugar levels. Inadequate blood flow to the feet impedes the healing of ulcers.
  • Dry skin, characterized by frequent cracking, along with the presence of corns and calluses, can predispose individuals to ulcers.

These factors collectively increase the risk of diabetic foot ulcers, highlighting the importance of preventative measures and prompt treatment.

Risk Factors for Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Numerous everyday factors increase the risk of developing diabetic foot ulcers. Some of these factors are so ingrained in daily routines that individuals may overlook their potential to cause serious ulcers and infections. The following are key risk factors for diabetic foot ulcers that require attention:

  • Poorly controlled blood sugar levels.
  • Heart and kidney diseases.
  • Obesity resulting from insufficient physical activity and lack of healthy movement.
  • Inadequate foot hygiene practices.
  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes.
  • Excessive tobacco use.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Neglecting to trim toenails properly, resulting in excessive length.

Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcer in Jaipur

Managing diabetic foot conditions effectively requires a comprehensive approach. Treatment options for diabetic foot ulcers typically involve a combination of strategies, including ulcer debridement and regular dressing, blood sugar level optimization, medications to enhance blood flow, and specialized footwear for pressure point offloading.

Ulcer debridement and regular dressing: This involves removing non-healing tissue, including necrotic and devitalized tissue, as well as calluses surrounding the wound. Debridement aids in reducing plantar pressures and promotes the formation of granulation tissue and re-epithelialization.

Optimization of blood sugar level: Maintaining blood glucose within target ranges is essential for facilitating natural tissue healing. Elevated blood sugar levels can weaken the body’s defense against infection and hinder the inflammatory response.

Medication to promote better blood flow: Poor circulation complicates the healing process and impedes natural ulcer healing. Medical professionals may prescribe medications to improve blood flow and support tissue repair.

Footwear for pressure point offloading: Patients may benefit from wearing offloading footwear, which is designed to redistribute pressure away from vulnerable areas. Therapeutic shoes are particularly beneficial for individuals at risk of foot complications such as neuropathic ulcers, Charcot foot, and infection.

By integrating these treatment modalities, interventional radiologist can effectively manage diabetic foot conditions and minimize the risk of complications.


Diabetic foot presents a serious and potentially devastating complication of diabetes, necessitating proactive care and timely interventions. Early detection, effective management, and preventive measures are essential in safeguarding the well-being of individuals with diabetes. By prioritizing foot care, regular check-ups, and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, the risk of diabetic foot and its complications can be significantly mitigated. Recognizing the importance of prevention and treatment of diabetic foot is crucial for preserving the quality of life and overall health of those affected by diabetes. Remember, awareness and proactive measures pave the way for a healthier and happier future.

While this condition may pose challenges to one’s lifestyle, timely diagnosis is the key to effective treatment. Dr. Nikhil Bansal, a distinguished interventional radiologist and pain specialist, understands the significance of identifying and addressing issues before they escalate, leading to improved patient outcomes. Specializing in minimally invasive procedures, Dr. Bansal offers non-invasive treatment options for various types of diabetic foot conditions. If you reside in or near Jaipur and experience leg pain, we encourage you to visit Dr. Nikhil Bansal and his team at either Endovascularexpert Clinic, Jaipur.

Dr. Nikhil Bansal

Dr. Nikhil Bansal


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