Center for Advanced Wound Care

A Comprehensive Guide to Treating Diabetic Foot Ulcers by the Center for Wound Care

Foot ulcers cannot be taken lightly, especially if you are a diabetic patient. Because of all amputations done for diabetes, 85% are preceded by a foot ulcer. 10% of people with diabetes have a foot ulcer and the lifetime risk of developing a foot ulcer for someone with diabetes is 25%. These statistics might sound scary but rest assured that if you take proper diabetes foot ulcer treatment in a wound care center, you can keep things under control. The sooner you diagnose your foot ulcer, the faster you can treat and control it. This article has a comprehensive guide to treating diabetic foot ulcers.

What are Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

Foot ulcers are formed as a result of skin tissue breaking down and exposing the layers underneath. It can’t be managed through methods such as diet, exercise, and insulin treatment. Diabetic foot ulcers are often a common complication in diabetic patients.

These foot ulcers mainly pop under your big toes and feet balls and can affect your feet down to the bones. Though diabetic people can easily develop foot ulcers, they can prevent them by taking care of their feet.

What are the Different Stages of Foot Ulcers?

Stage 1: Normal foot with no risk factors

At this stage, the ulcer in your foot hasn’t broken through the skin yet. So, the affected area may appear red or discolored and you might have a warm feeling or that area may turn firmer or softer compared to the surrounding tissue. There may be no symptoms at this point.

However, if you have a risk of developing diabetic foot ulcers, a healthcare professional would recommend wearing well-fitting footwear and starting to take care of your foot.

Stage 2: High-risk foot

Diabetes patients are at risk of developing foot ulcers, especially if they have nerve damage or poor blood flow in their foot. In this stage, you might have a superficial ulcer without it penetrating deeper. If you have calluses, these need to be removed by a procedure called debridement that involves removing dead skin.

Stage 3: Ulcerated foot

If you have visible signs of a foot ulcer, such as swelling or skin discoloration, your doctor will try to reduce the pressure on your foot in order to prevent the infection from spreading further. You may be advised to use an air cast, wheelchairs or complete bed rest. Effective wound care is crucial during this stage because it helps cut down on the risk of infection.

Stage 4: Cellulitis foot or an infected foot

If your foot ulcers start showing signs of infection, it’s stage 4, and you may need hospitalization for better treatment. A sample of the wound is taken to identify the fungus or bacteria causing the infection. The wound might require a surgical procedure to drain and cut away infected tissue to control the infection.

Stage 5: Necrotic foot or diabetic foot with gangrene

When your diabetic foot has dead tissue due to infection or a lack of blood flow (gangrene), it’s stage 5. Treatment involves hospital admission, antibiotics, and bed rest. Depending on the severity of the diabetic ulcer, surgical intervention might be necessary.

Stage 6: A diabetic foot with ulcer that cannot be rescued

This is the final stage. Here, the foot ulcer damage is so severe that the foot needs to be removed. After foot amputation, it’s crucial to be extra careful because immobility after surgery can cause pressure ulcers on the other foot. Using a special mattress or wedge pillow and moving your foot regularly can help prevent ulcers from forming.

If you are unsure whether you have foot ulcers, get checked by a healthcare professional right away. Our diabetes foot ulcer treatment in Oxnard has an expert team that provides an accurate diagnosis and specialized care to help you heal and regain mobility.

Treating Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Wound care

By cleaning the wound on a regular basis, you can heal the wound, especially if it’s diagnosed early. Here, your healthcare professional disinfects the ulcer and removes any dead tissue surrounding it. After the wound is clean, bandages are added to keep the area sterile while it heals.

Specialized dressings, such as skin substitutes and collagen-infused dressings, are used to help the skin heal faster. They provide the cellular building blocks necessary for the growth of new and healthy skin. Also, to remove excess moisture, dressings infused with antibiotic medicines are used to treat and prevent infection.

And you need not visit the wound care center for this. Rather, get proper guidance from your doctor and clean and dress the wound at home.

Also, daily wound care is of utmost importance until the wound is healed and for speedy healing. However, diabetic people and those with lower extremity arterial disease often heal slowly.


You develop severe pain when you suffer from foot ulcers. The more pressure you add to the ulcer with movement, the more pain you experience. Also, the wound slows down its healing. So, to reduce the pressure on the affected area, offloading is done.

It involves staying off your feet to prevent ulcers from causing pain. By avoiding walking or any kind of movement that puts pressure on the area, you can prevent the infection from becoming worse and spreading.

Medical professionals suggest custom-fit shoe inserts or braces to relieve pressure from an ulcer. Here, the orthotics, or shoe inserts, help in redistributing your body’s weight across the bones and joints of your foot while you walk.

These inserts are usually soft and may contain foam or gel to support your foot while walking. Also, the shoe insert can shift weight away from the affected area to further relieve pressure and help the ulcer heal.

Infection management

Infections are dangerous signs for foot ulcers because they signal that they’re serious complications and need immediate attention and treatment. Otherwise, it can lead to leg amputations. However, not all infections are treated the same way. First, it’s analyzed, and even an X-ray is done to check for signs of a bone infection. Then, antibiotics are prescribed. It’s important to follow the prescribed course strictly. 

This medication is often taken by mouth and it fights infection by killing bacteria. How long you need to take the medication depends on the extent of the infection. 

However, if the infection in your foot ulcer has spread to tissues or bones surrounding the wound, the doctor may recommend antibiotics given through a vein with an IV infusion. Since the medication is delivered straight to the bloodstream, your body starts fighting infections more quickly.

You can prevent a foot ulcer infection with the following:

  • Enzyme treatments

  • Foot baths

  • Let the ulcer dry with frequent dressing changes.

  • Dressing the wound with calcium alginates to prevent bacterial growth

Remember, the diabetes foot ulcer treatment must address all three important concerns, including debridement, infection control and offloading.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

The term hyperbaric refers to a gas being at a greater atmospheric pressure than normal.

This is a treatment that involves an individual—in our case, the diabetic patient with foot ulcers—breathing nearly 100% oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber that’s pressurized to greater than sea level pressure. 

How does this work? Your body needs oxygen to function properly. So, the air that people breathe contains only 21% oxygen. So, HBOT helps an individual breathe pure oxygen to help the lungs collect more of this gas. 

This way, the treatment aims to increase the blood oxygen level to help repair tissues and restore your body’s normal functioning.

How does it treat diabetic foot ulcers? 

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), HBOT can be used to treat 13 conditions, including diabetic foot ulcers. Here, HBOT encourages the formation of new blood vessels around the wound area and the healing process quickly.

A study proved that HBOT was effective in treating 74.2% of diabetic foot ulcer cases. However, this treatment is suggested only for individuals with stage 3 or higher. Patients are approximately treated for 60 to 90 minutes every day for 30 to 60 treatments.

Surgical procedures

Though in most cases, foot ulcers are treated with non-surgical methods, if there is no other treatment option left, surgery can only prevent your ulcer from spreading or leading to amputation.

Get advanced diabetic foot ulcer treatment in Thousand Oaks. Book an appointment to get in touch with the wound care specialist today.

Any prevention tips?

Wound care specialists suggest the following precautions and preventions for diabetes foot ulcer treatment:.

Every year, about 1-4% of diabetes people develop a new foot ulcer. But with foot ulcer preventive care, you can avoid the chances of getting one.

Some practical tips are:

  • Don’t forget to wash your feet every day, especially with lukewarm water.
  • Avoid trimming your toenails too short.
  • Use a foot cream or a gentle lotion to keep the skin soft.
  • Clean your toenails regularly.
  • Change a fresh pair of socks often.
  • Wear proper-fitting and comfortable shoes.
  • Consult a poditrist for corn and callus removal.

Final Words


Every 30 seconds, one leg is amputated due to diabetes globally. This isn’t to scare you but we are trying to underscore the importance of how severe diabetic ulcers are. In fact, you don’t have to reach that stage; by following the precautions mentioned above, you can be safe. However, if you are diagnosed with foot ulcers, visit a wound care center immediately because the sooner it’s diagnosed and treated, the faster it heals. Also, do regular self-exams to catch foot ulcers in their early stages. Simply inspect your feet daily and look for redness, swelling, cuts, blisters or any nail issues. 

If you are looking for diabetes foot ulcer treatment in Ventura, Thousand Oaks, or Ventura, the Center for Advanced Wound Care is the best. It has a team of wound care specialists and the required tools and machinery to treat diabetic patients suffering from foot ulcers of any stage. Fill out the contact form to book an appointment.


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