Ulcers are sores or wounds that do not heal properly and cause a chronic breakdown of the skin. Ulcers can be classified into one of four different stages based on how deeply they penetrate the skin, ranging from redness on the surface to exposure of the muscles or bones. They can also be classified by their cause. The most common causes of foot ulcers are diabetes, ischemia, and venous stasis. Let’s explore each one a little bit more:
Diabetic ulcerations are by far the most common of the three. Most diabetics suffer from diabetic neuropathy, meaning that they lose some of their ability to perceive pain, temperature, or pressure in their feet. As a result, corns and calluses from friction go unnoticed for long periods of time and break down and become ulcers. The best treatment for these ulcers is prevention and consistent self-examinations.
Ischemic ulcerations occur in areas of the feet with poor circulation. When circulation gets worse, the skin becomes thinner and less able to withstand stretching and friction. The skin is therefore prone to spontaneous breakdown. It is important to avoid bandages that are adhesive or cut off circulation when treating these ulcers.
Venous Stasis Ulcerations
The veins are responsible for returning blood to the heart. When veins become damaged, they do not allow for proper blood flow. As a result, blood and fluid accumulates in the feet and ankles, leading to swollen skin that can become ulcerated. Treatment for venous stasis ulcerations involves adding some compression to the legs so that fluid does not accumulate in any one area.
Properly treating an ulcer requires a two-pronged approach: cleaning out the wound to prevent infection and also addressing the underlying issues that caused the ulcer in the first place. To the doctors at the Foot and Ankle Centers of North Houston, this might mean nutrition counseling, orthotics, medications, or surgery. At any one of their six offices in the North Houston, Texas area, you can expect expert treatment for just about any foot or ankle ailment. To request an appointment or ask a question, please contact us at (281) 444-4114!