Foot ulcers are a serious complication of diabetes. If you have signs of a foot ulcer, our Texas diabetic wound care podiatrists can examine your feet to determine the severity of the wound. They will recommend treatment options based on the stage of your ulcer and your specific needs. The stages of a foot ulcer

Stages of a Foot Ulcer

If you have a foot ulcer, consult with a podiatrist as soon as possible for an evaluation. After a podiatrist diagnoses the ulcer, they will give it a stage or classification in order to recommend treatment. One system used for staging the severity of an ulcer is the Wagner Ulcer Classification System. Using a 0 - 5 scale, a podiatrist will grade the ulcer based on its depth and the presence of gangrene.  

The Wagner System Stages

  • Stage 0. At this stage, there are no open sores or ulcers. The foot appears normal.
  • Stage 1. At this stage, the ulcer is superficial and only affects the outer layers of the skin. The ulcer has not penetrated the deeper layers of the skin. Conservative treatments may prove effective at stage 1.
  • Stage 2. At this stage, the ulcer is deeper and extends to the ligament, tendon, bone, or joint of the foot.
  • Stage 3. At this stage, the ulcer has affected the deeper layers of the skin and tissue. There may be other issues present such as an abscess, osteomyelitis, or sepsis of the joint.
  • Stage 4. At this stage, there is gangrene present in the forefoot and dead tissue is in the front of the foot or the heels.
  • Stage 5. At this stage, the whole foot has gangrene. Amputation may be the only option to save a patient’s life.

Following a diagnosis, appropriate treatment recommendations can be made. The sooner a diabetic foot ulcer is treated, the more likely it will heal and not become a bigger problem.

Possible Treatment Options

  • Cleaning the wound with mild soap and water
  • Keeping the ulcer covered with a bandage or dressing
  • Taking pressure off the area of the wound
  • Taking antibiotics if the wound is infected
  • Debridement to remove dead skin, tissue, and debris from the ulcer
  • Surgery to correct any foot deformities that caused the ulcer
  • Amputation to prevent further spread of infection or gangrene

Signs of a Foot Ulcer and How to Prevent Complications

If you notice an ulcer on your foot, don’t wait to get treatment, or you increase your risk for serious complications. Seeing a podiatrist at the first sign of a problem can prevent infections and even amputation. Having a condition such as diabetes puts you at an increased risk of developing a foot ulcer. Many ulcers go undetected because diabetes can cause a lack of sensation in your feet.

Signs of a Foot Ulcer

  • Drainage or blood stains on your socks
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Foul odor

How to Prevent Serious Foot Ulcer Complications

  • Conduct a daily self-exam of your feet to check for any signs of an ulcer or other changes in your feet.
  • Wash your feet daily with mild soap and warm water, and be sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between your toes.
  • Use a moisturizer on dry skin but never between your toes.
  • Wear socks to protect your feet and shoes that fit properly.
  • Never walk barefoot.
  • Trim your toenails straight across and round the edges.
  • Keep a healthy blood sugar level, and avoid alcohol and tobacco products.
  • See a podiatrist at the first sign of a problem.

Our Texas Podiatrist Can Help With a Foot Ulcer

If you have signs of a foot ulcer, seek treatment from the podiatrists at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. We can answer any questions you have about foot ulcers and develop an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs. 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.