An ulcer is breakdown of the bottom layer of the skin (dermis). It provides a direct route into your bloodstream and other deeper structures like bone. Ulcers are very painful and very dangerous. If neglected an ulcer will lead to infection and this infection may spread to the bone and other parts of the body.
Ulcers on the feet can be caused by excess pressure, poor blood supply (arterial) or poor blood flow in veins (venous). Neuropathic ulcers are pressure ulcers caused in patients who have neuropathy (no feeling in their feet) and can be common in diabetic patients. Pressure ulcers, which result from large ongoing forces, are most commonly seen by our podiatrists at our Melbourne clinic. They are most common over bony and high pressure areas, such as on top of the toes, between the toes and under the forefoot.
Ulcers often form under callus and corns and thus are often missed by patients. They are usually only exposed following podiatry treatment. Ulcer treatment by our podiatrists involves reducing any overlying callus, cleaning the ulcer and dressing it with an antiseptic. Specific padding is then applied to the foot to offload the affected area and to allow for healing. In some cases special splints, insoles or orthotics may be needed to help an ulcer to heal and to help prevent it form returning.