Diabetic foot ulcers more dangerous than we may think

In the field of medicine, ulcers are not a comfortable topic to discuss. However, medical professionals say it is important to discuss ulcers, especially if someone suffers from diabetes.

"80% of the lower leg amputations done in the U.S. every year are preceded by a diabetic foot ulcer," says Michael Garrett, a Certified Hyperbaric Wound Specialist for Mercy Medical Center. "So it's really a significant issue that really doesn't get a lot of attraction."

It's not a pleasant conversation, but for someone with diabetes, just a small cut or sore on their foot can lead to much bigger problems, including death.

"There are more people, almost 50%, that die from diabetic foot ulcers, than if you included breast cancer and prostate cancer combined," says Garrett.

Wound specialists, like Garrett, can use different techniques to find the cause of these ulcers, including using a sock to identify which artery the blood flow to the wound comes from.

From here, medical professionals can take the necessary steps toward healing their patients.

"We have a really really tough population here in the Midwest," says Jessica Wineland, a Nurse Practitioner with Mercy Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeries. "Everyone kind of just brushes things off, and we don't think too much about little sores on our feet. But with diabetes, that tiny little sore on your feet can quickly become something more dangerous."

Wineland says it is a smarter option to do little things here and there when it comes to foot care for those with diabetes.

"Daily foot checks and how important they can be. Maybe in getting those looked at sooner than later, we could save a lot of people a headache down the road," says Wineland.

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