The biggest fear among diabetes patients at area Ankle & Foot Care Centers is amputation. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 60 percent of all non-traumatic lower leg amputations worldwide are related to complications from diabetes.

Diabetes questions and answers.

What is a diabetic ulcer? Diabetic ulcerations, or sores, are often one of the first signs of complications from diabetes in the lower leg. If left untreated, ulcers can grow larger and become harder to successfully treat. If discovered early and treated by a podiatrist, ulcers may not lead to amputation.

Won’t I know it when I have a cut or wound on one or both of my feet? Not always. Those with diabetes can often experience what is called “diabetic neuropathy,” a numbness or lack of sensation and pain in the lower legs and feet, that can often make the beginning stages of diabetic ulcers difficult to feel. Waiting for pain in the feet to detect ulcers is usually not an option for those with diabetes.

Where do diabetic ulcers most often occur? Typically, diabetic foot ulcers occur at points of increased pressure, such as the ball of the foot or the bottom of the big toe; however, ulcers can appear anywhere on the foot or ankle.

If I discover what I think is a diabetic ulcer, is it too late to save my lower limb? No. If discovered early and treated by a podiatrist or primary care physician, many ulcers can be successfully healed without resorting to amputation.

Can a podiatrist help treat and manage diabetic ulcers? Yes. Podiatrists are an integral part of the diabetes management team and are experts in wound care.

Sources: Ankle & Foot Care Centers and the American Podiatric Medical Association.

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