The terms wound and ulcer are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two. Both are breaks in the skin, but a wound is damaged skin and tissue that develops due to external trauma such as a cut or an abrasion. Usually, a foot wound heals on its own.

Foot ulcers vs. woundsAlthough a foot wound may look like an ulcer, an ulcer is usually a sign of a more serious condition. An ulcer may start as a foot wound but grow deeper into the foot and fail to heal. It is important to seek the help of an experienced wound care podiatrist at the first sign of a foot problem, so it does not result in serious complications. 

Common Causes and Signs of Foot Wounds and Foot Ulcers

Wounds are caused by an external force such as an accident, cut, laceration, surgery, or a puncture in the skin.

Signs You May Have a Foot Wound

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Redness and bruising

A wound can turn into a skin ulcer if it does not heal or respond to treatment. Skin ulcers can occur on any part of the body but are most common on the feet, legs, and ankles. Wounds occur suddenly due to a direct injury, but ulcers form gradually over time as the skin breaks down.

Additionally, diabetes is a common cause of foot ulcers, as well as poor circulation, nerve damage, and inflammatory diseases.

Signs You May Have a Foot Ulcer

  • Open wound that does not heal
  • Pain and/or tenderness near the ulcer
  • Warm/hot skin that changes color
  • Swelling
  • Visible blood or drainage on your socks
  • Foul odor

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

If you notice an open wound or sore on your foot, it is important to consult with a podiatrist as soon as possible. If a wound does not heal or an ulcer is slow to heal and becomes infected, it can turn into a serious problem. Seeking immediate treatment can often prevent more serious complications. If a wound or an ulcer becomes infected, the infection can spread to surrounding tissue and bone. If the infection cannot be stopped, amputation is often needed to save a person’s life.

The type of treatment used for a foot ulcer or wound depends on its severity and location. Once a podiatrist diagnoses the problem, a treatment plan can be recommended based on your specific needs.

Contact Our Texas Podiatrists

If you have a foot wound or foot ulcer, reach out to the Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for a consultation today. To request an appointment, contact our Grapevine or Keller office by filling out our convenient online contact form or by calling our office at 817-481-4000.