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March 16, 2007


Question from Kampala, Uganda:

How does a diabetic foot ulcer develop?


Diabetic foot ulcers develop primarily because of gradual circulation insufficiency to the feet. One common explanation is that over the course of time with POOR glucose control, the tiniest blood vessels, called capillaries, become “leaky” and this can compromise the blood circulation to the nerves of the feet (and elsewhere!). But, if the nerves get damaged due to lack of blood supply, then you lose sensation to the feet. So, if a toe is stubbed or an ankle is scraped, but you don’t FEEL the injury, the wound can fester. And with poor circulation, the wound may not heal well. The result? A foot ulcer.

This process can occur at other parts of the body, but we stress the feet because they are often overlooked!