Ulcers and Blood Circulation: Diabetes Effects on the Feet

People with diabetes are at a much greater risk of developing serious foot conditions. This can be from lack of blood circulation, nerve damage, or a change in the shape of the foot or toe. A lot of the times, people with diabetes will experience foot pain. This is sometimes due to neuropathy. However, there are other foot complications related to diabetes.

People with diabetes are much more likely to develop foot ulcers. According to the American Diabetes Association, ADA, ulcers are open sores (ADA, 2016). Every ulcer needs to be checked out by a medical physician right away since they are prone to become infected.

They are most common on the ball of the foot or underneath the big toe (ADA, 2016). If you have ulcers that develop on the side of your foot, it is a sign that you need a different pair of shoes. Talk to your doctor about therapeutic shoes for your feet. It might also be good to get checked for neuropathy. If you neglect an ulcer, it could possibly result in the loss of a limb. Therefore, it is very important to get it checked out right away.

Your provider will treat it on a case by case basis. There is a chance that they will take x-rays to ensure that the bone is not infected. Sometimes, your doctor will direct you to go to a hospital to get the work done.

According to the ADA, “if your ulcer is not healing and your circulation is poor, your health care provider may need to refer you to a vascular surgeon” (ADA, 2016). Also, if you have high blood glucose levels, it makes it difficult to fight the infection. Therefore, maintaining control over your blood sugar is crucial.

Once the ulcer is gone, the ADA suggests you take special care of the scar tissue. You might need to wear special shoes to make sure that there is enough circulation. Lack of care could cause the ulcer to return.

Another foot condition related to diabetes is poor circulation. If you have poor blood circulation to your foot, it will make it harder to fight infections. Bad circulation will also make it harder to recover from infections.

The ADA said, “diabetes causes blood vessels of the foot and leg to narrow and harden” (ADA, 2016). In order to help prevent this, you can maintain your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Also, quit smoking if you are currently a smoker. Ask your physician for help so you will be able to achieve success. Smoking makes your arteries harden quicker than normal, making blood circulation worse.

It also could cause you to have less feeling in your feet. This might make it difficult to feel temperatures. If your feet are cold, warm socks are the best option. If you stick them in water, you might accidentally burn yourself since you cannot feel the temperature.

Exercise is great to get blood circulation going again. However, the ADA suggests not to walk with open sores (ADA, 2016). Getting a great pair of therapeutic shoes should help a lot.


American Diabetes Association (2016). Foot complications. Web. American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications/?referrer=https://www.google.com/