What are Diabetic Leg Ulcers?

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Diabetic leg ulcers are one of the complications of diabetes. Ulcer is defined as a sore on the skin resulting from tissue disintegration and pus formation. It can cause the complete loss of epidermis, dermis, and even the subcutaneous fat. Ulcers in the lower extremities are increasing in incidence among people with diabetes. It is estimated that more than half of the number of people with lower limb amputations in the United States happen to people with diabetes.

Diabetic ulcers are commonly seen at the bottom of the feet and some may develop on the legs. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, and burning sensation of the affected limb.

Why They Occur

Diabetes causes the formation of leg ulcer and foot ulcer because of poor circulation of blood in the area brought about by the effects of long term diabetes on the blood vessels. This often results in the formation of blisters and ulcers which can easily become infected. These ulcers also takes a long time to heal or won’t even heal. Due to neuropathy, also brought about by diabetes, the feet may no longer have the ability to feel any pain and discomfort and thus preventing a diabetic patient to detect any type of irritation and injury in the area. Poor blood circulation also decreases the body’s ability to heal wounds, making it hard for the body to fight off infections.


Diabetic patients should be cautious of any wounds that may occur on their feet or legs as they are at greater risk for developing such complications. There are many ways for diabetics to prevent or lessen risks of leg ulcers. For one, they should regularly inspect their feet for any signs of injury like swelling, and for the presence of skin and nail problems such as scrapes, cuts, drainage, redness, discoloration, or loss of hair on the toes.

They should also be cautious of leg pain, especially those which happens at night or when they haven’t done much activity. These conditions could mean that there is a blocked artery on the foot or lower limb. Diabetics should also cut their toenails regularly, and refrain from trimming corns or calluses by themselves. Sharp objects such as insulin syringes, needles and other items should also be cleared off the floor.

Diabetics can also prevent diabetic leg ulcers formation by wearing shoes and similar footwear regardless if they are outdoors or indoors. Their socks should also not be bunched up, while their shoes should be shook out to ensure that there are no sharp items on them. It also helps if diabetics regularly consult with their foot and ankle specialist regarding their sense of feel on the lower limbs as well as their blood circulation on the foot.


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Net Doctor: Foot and Leg Ulcers

Controlling Diabetes Now: Leg Ulcer Diabetes