Foot ulcers are a common problem for patients with diabetes. Because diabetes often affects the nerves in the legs and feet ulcers are frequently painless. This might sound like a good thing, but actually it’s a significant problem because patients can be unaware that they’ve injured their foot (e.g. a blister from poorly fitting shoes, or broken skin from stepping on something sharp) which can lead to an ulcer forming. Because it doesn’t hurt, patients may also continue to walk on the ulcer rather than reducing the pressure on it, which can delay healing.
Long-lasting ulcers can be a severe disability and have a serious impact on your quality of life and relationships. You may find your situation distressing and driving, housework, leisure activities and employment can become difficult or impossible.
Ulcers that don’t heal can ultimately lead to gangrene and infection and sometimes the only way to stop this is to amputate part or all of the foot and lower leg.