Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Nearly half of the patients with diabetes experience some form of nerve damage to the feet and legs and around 15% will progress to develop foot ulcers (defined as an open wound or sore on the foot).   Common risk factors for ulcer formation include diabetic peripheral neuropathy, structural foot deformity and peripheral arterial disease.  Foot complications are one of the most frequent reason for hospitalisation in patients with diabetes, accounting for up to 25% of all diabetic admissions.

Texas Classification of Foot Ulcer

GradeStage AStage BStage CStage D
0Pre or post ulcer completely epithelialisedWith infectionWith IschemiaWith both Infection & Ischemia
1Superficial wound NOT involving tendon, capsule, bone or jointWith infectionWith IschemiaWith both Infection & Ischemia
2Wound penetrating tendon or capsuleWith infectionWith IschemiaWith both Infection & Ischemia
3Wound penetrating joint or boneWith infectionWith IschemiaWith both Infection & Ischemia


The good news is that most serious complications of diabetic foot ulcers can be prevented or delayed with an appropriate care plan.  The goal in foot ulcer treatment is to get complete healing as fast as possible to prevent secondary infection.  Treatment involves;

  • Prevention and control of wound infection.  Antibiotics may be necessary if there is infection at the ulcer site
  • Taking the pressure off the ulcer or pressure sore (known as ‘off-loading’)
  • A healthy diet can promote wound healing.  Nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium and vitamins A, C, E and K may help with skin and tissue repair
  • Regular wound dressings to the ulcer

Click to view Michigan Medicine video on Diabetic Foot Ulcer

Surgery Options

Most foot ulcers can heal with treatment by your doctors and podiatrists.  However, some may require surgery and include;

Image Wound Source


Careful attention to foot care and avoiding unnecessary injuries are key to preventing ulcer formation.  Minor foot injuries (such as cuts, scrapes or blisters) should be washed gently with soap and water.  Patients should avoid soaking in hot water or using strong solutions such as hydrogen peroxide or iodine (Betadine).  All diabetes patients are recommended to keep good control of their diabetes and to see their healthcare professionals regularly to prevent any diabetic related complications.  These include;

See your Vascular or Orthopaedic Surgeon, Nurse or Podiatrist for treatment advice

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Share it on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?