Why can diabetes cause foot ulcers?

Houston podiatrist treats and heals diabetic foot ulcersDiabetes causes three conditions that affect the feet: poor circulation to your feet, reduced sensation or numbness of your feet, and a diminished healing capacity. Together, these three conditions can spell disaster if unrecognized and untreated. Poor circulation, known as peripheral artery disease (PAD) prevents sufficient blood flow to the feet, depriving the tissues of needed oxygen. Peripheral neuropathy, a numbing of the nerves in the feet, reduce the protective sensation and reduces the likelihood that someone with diabetes will feel pain with an injury. The reduces healing potential can make a trivial injury more problematic by becoming infected and putting the limb at risk.

When there is pressure beneath the foot or over bony prominences, such as bunions or hammertoes, thick skin, or calluses, will often form to protect from the increased pressure. In people without diabetes, this would become painful. When diabetics have numb feet, they will not feel pain and will keep walking. Because of reduced circulation and the diminished ability to heal, the tissue beneath the pressure will breaks down and a diabetic foot ulcer will form. The open foot ulcer, a break or hole in the skin, can deepen and become infected, putting the bone at risk for infection and threatening the health and safety of the limb.

If you notice that you have, or at risk for, a diabetic foot ulcer, consider it an emergency and call your Houston podiatrist. At Tanglewood Foot Specialists, we specialize in keeping our diabetic patients healthy and walking. Contact us today for schedule a comprehensive diabetic foot examination.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.