Foot Ulcers and Wounds

Foot wounds and ulcers are not the same, but symptoms and treatments can be similar. A wound is defined as damaged skin and tissue layers, typically from an injury resulting in a cut or abrasion. If a chronic wound (wound that will not heal) begins growing deeper and deeper into the foot, it may become an ulcer.

A foot ulcer is simply an open sore, internal or external, on the tip of the toes or on the side or bottom of the foot that fails to heal. Venous Stasis Ulcers are usually found on the ankle. Diabetic foot ulcers are one of the most common forms of this ailment; this is due to reduced skin sensation and blood flow to parts of the body.


Wounds to the foot can be caused by almost anything: bare feet on rough terrain, catching the skin on a sharp object, etc. Chronic wounds however are often caused by cardiovascular conditions and other major conditions such as diabetes.

Foot ulcers can be a caused by a large list of conditions, but some of the most common are:

  • Diabetes
  • Poor circulation (atherosclerosis) & circulatory problems
  • Genetics
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory disease
  • Nerve damage to the feet (peripheral neuropathy)
  • Bone & muscle abnormalities


Foot wound symptoms are often characterized by:

  • Tenderness
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Bruising & redness

Ulcers of the feet have similar characteristics to that of wounds but have more identifiably specific symptoms:

  • May appear as a red hole
  • Located on the bottom or sides of the foot or tip of toes
  • Round in shape
  • Surrounded by hard callused skin
  • May be very deep
  • Burning & itching

Treatment & Care

The best treatment of wounds and ulcers is prevention. Protecting your feet with proper fitting footwear, examining them daily for any abnormalities, and keeping good foot hygiene (keeping them washed, trimming toenails, etc.) are all important preventative habits to keep.

Actual treatment of wounds and ulcers may include:

  • Debridement (removal of excess debris/foreign objects from affected area)
  • Specialized footwear
  • Medicating & dressing
  • Taking of antibiotics
  • Resting & elevation
  • Compression
  • Surgery (when absolutely necessary)

The Podiatrists at Advanced Foot & Ankle are experienced and well-trained in wound and ulcer treatments like:

  • Traumatic wounds from injuries
  • Animal bites
  • Spider/insect bites
  • Puncture wounds
  • Surgical wounds
  • Foreign body wounds
  • Pressure wounds
  • Infections
  • Blisters
  • Arterial wounds from poor circulation
  • Venous Stasis Ulcers (wounds which usually appear on the ankles, accompanied by swelling)

For more information about foot wounds and ulcers, other foot problems and treatment options, or to have an assessment at one of our conveniently located Middle Tennessee locations, contact us today to schedule an appointment.