Podiatry Resource Center

Foot Health & Informational Snippets

Are Foot Ulcers A Sign of Diabetes?

1) Staining on your socks may be a sign of diabetic foot ulcers. Why is this?

The source of stains on socks could be from a wound where plasma or blood has been leaking out.

2) How does diabetes affect your feet/cause diabetic foot ulcers? And why? Does this happen in the early stages of diabetes or later on?

Diabetes affects your circulation, nerves, and can lead to neuropathy. This, in turn, can lead to untreated foot ulcers as open wounds on the soles of the foot may not register in the pain receptors of a patient with neuropathy. Whether it happens during early or late-stage diabetes is variable as diabetes can go undetected for long periods of time. The longer a patient is diabetic the longer the more out-of-control neuropathy can become. This can lead to the deterioration of circulation and lower the body’s immunity.

3) What are other signs and symptoms that indicate that you have diabetic foot ulcers or diabetes?

Callouses and corns can eventually develop into foot ulcers if left untreated. A sign of a diabetic foot ulcer is blood under the skin and any open sore/wound. Other signs you may have diabetes include increased thirst, increased urination, extreme hunger, and unexplained drop in weight.

4) Why is it important to know that you have diabetes? What complications arise from untreated diabetes? What more can you say on this topic?

A diabetes diagnosis will assist the doctor in further diagnosing other conditions. If a patient’s A1C is over 8 then their immune system is essentially already shutting down. The biggest message we can get to patients is that foot ulcers are a serious condition that can eventually lead to death if untreated. If a patient is suffering from neuropathy and a foot ulcer develops with a compromised immune system, an infection can lead to eventual gangrene which may require amputation or it will lead to sepsis which causes death.

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