What is a Foot Ulcer?

Feet of Stone - showing oakville foot clinic, halton foot clinic

Chiropodists or foot specialists are an important part of your health care team if you have decreased sensation of your feet.

Ulcers are generally the break down of the normal integrity of the skin. They are skin wounds that are generally slow to heal. They are classified on a scale of 4 stages. The stages refer to which layer of skin the wound affects.

Because they are hard to heal, it is best to catch ulcers and foot wounds early and treat them early. It is even better to prevent them. If you are a person with decreased or no sensation of the feet, or a person who cannot move well to relieve pressure area of the feet (heels), have someone check your feet often. Our Oakville Chiropodists perform routine foot care assessments and treatments.

Foot Ulcers may be caused by:

  • Peripheral vascular disease (PVD),
  • Neuropathy,
  • Diabetic neuropathy,
  • Increased pressure in an area without the ability to move to relieve the pressure (bed sores)
  • Decreased sensation or movement due to spinal cord injury

Stages of Ulcers:

  1. Stage 1 ulcers have reddening over bony areas / pressure areas. For many this is under the ball of the foot or heel. This redness does not go away when the pressure is taken away.
  2. Stage 2 ulcers have blisters, peeling skin, or cracked skin. The top two layers of the skin has some partial skin loss.
  3. Stage 3 ulcers have broken skin. There is sometimes bleeding and bloody drainage. The skin loss is considered full thickness and includes the tissue between skin and muscle (subcutaneous tissue).
  4. Stage 4 ulcers involve the breakdown of multiple layers of tissue this includes skin, muscle, tendon and even bone. It can be associated with bone infection.

Ulcers can occur anywhere on the body, but for the purposes of what we treat in our North Oakville foot clinic, we will talk about the feet.

It’s important to find the underlying reason for a foot ulcer. It may be areas of pressure that can be relieved by proper footwear and custom orthotics. It can be because of poor circulation. It can be because of poor sensation. It can be areas of pressure if using a foot plate when sitting in a wheel chair that can be modified. It may be areas of pressure from bed positioning if a person is immobile in bed.

cast on leg showing North Oakville Physio for broken bone , fracture, RMT, massage therapy

What a Chiropodist May Do:

The Chiropodist will assess your feet, the sensation and the stage of ulcer. They will treat the infection and work to reduce the pressure to the area.

The Chiropodist will clean the wound and remove the infected tissue. They may prescribe antibiotics if there is signs of active infection. They will offer advise on more serious infections or refer a person onwards if needed. They will dress the wound to protect the area and help with healing.

The Chiropodist will also help with ways to decrease the pressure to the area. They will provide easy to avoid mechanical stress / pressure on the wound to help it heal. This also helps prevent further breakdown. The Chiropodist may recommend a walking boot / shoe in the short term. They may recommend crutches, a walker or a kneeling scooter. Custom orthotics may be helpful after healing of the wound to maintain less pressure in the area.

Diabetic foot screening at oakville, Halton foot clinic by a chiropodist

All of this is dependent on the person.

If you have ares of pain in the feet, signs of infection, areas of redness, or open wounds, we are here to help at our North Oakville clinic.

Contact us to book an appointment with one of our Chiropodists for routine foot care or foot skin, joint and toenail assessments.