Diabetic foot ulcers are common with diabetes


Diabetes affects 30 million Americans, or 9.4 percent of the population. Nearly 1 in 4 adults with diabetes are not aware they have it. The population of the Keweenaw Peninsula is roughly 40,000 people. That means more than 3600 people in the Keweenaw Peninsula have diabetes.

Diabetic foot ulcers are a common complication of diabetes. The lifetime risk of someone with diabetes developing a foot ulcer is approximately 17 percent. Fifteen percent of diabetic foot ulcers will result in amputation. Fifty percent of these patients requiring amputation will require a second amputation within five years. Fifty percent of patients requiring two amputations will die of cardiovascular complications within five years.

Diabetic foot ulcers are often the result of a combination of issues including: diabetic neuropathy, causing sensory loss and muscle weakness; trauma, resulting from pressure on areas of the foot from shoes and weight bearing; and arterial disease, which is associated with diabetes. Often trauma and pressure aren’t felt due to neuropathy.

There are many aspects to treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetic foot ulcers can easily become infected which can result in bone infection, therefore it is never recommended to treat a diabetic foot ulcer without proper medical guidance. Our team of experts at UP Health System-Portage’s Advanced Wound Care Center have advanced education and certifications in wound care. We regularly diagnose and treat patients with diabetic foot ulcers and manage the associated conditions.

Treatment of diabetic foot ulcers and management of the associated conditions may include offloading the wound using therapeutic footwear, advanced dressings to promote healing, assessing blood flow and working with other medical professionals to optimize it. Other treatments include electrical stimulation, and bioengineered grafts made with stem cells, and numerous other alternatives. Maintenance of blood glucose levels is also critical for healing of a diabetic foot ulcer, therefore meeting with a dietitian or diabetes educator is also vital.

If you believe you may have a diabetic foot ulcer, call 906-483-1040 to make an appointment with one of the certified wound care specialists at UP Health System – Portage.