Symptoms A-Z

Foot Ulcer Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your foot ulcer symptoms with Buoy, including 4 causes and common questions concerning your foot ulcer.

An image depicting a person suffering from foot ulcer symptoms

Foot Ulcer Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having foot ulcer

Contents

  1. 4 Possible Foot Ulcer Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics

4 Possible Foot Ulcer Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced foot ulcer. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Skin infection of the foot

An infection of the skin of the foot is almost always either fungal or bacterial. A fungal infection of the foot is called tinea pedis, or athlete's foot. It is caused by different types of dermatophyte fungus and is commonly found in damp places such as showers or locker room floors. A bacterial infection anywhere on the skin is called cellulitis if it extends under the skin. It can develop after a break in the skin allows bacteria to enter and begin growing. These bacteria are most often either Streptococcus or Staphylococcus, which are found throughout the environment.

Most susceptible are diabetic patients, since high blood sugar interferes with healing and wounds can easily become chronic and/or deeply infected. Diagnosis is made through physical examination by a medical provider.

Treatment for either a fungal or bacterial infection involves keeping the skin dry and clean at all times. A fungal infection is treated with topical and/or oral antifungal medications, while a bacterial infection will be treated with topical and/or antibiotic medications.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fever, foot pain, foot redness, warm red foot swelling, swollen ankle

Symptoms that always occur with skin infection of the foot: foot redness, foot pain, area of skin redness

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Peripheral arterial disease (pad)

Peripheral artery disease is also called PAD, intermittent claudication, or vascular disease. The large main artery from the heart is the aorta, and its smaller branches are the peripheral arteries.

In PAD these peripheral arteries are blocked with plaque, which is debris that builds up in the lining of these arteries and eventually cuts off the blood flow.

Risk factors for PAD include smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

PAD usually involves arteries that lead to the legs, but can affect any artery. Symptoms include numbness and pain in the legs, especially with exercise when more circulation is needed but the flow is blocked.

It is important to seek treatment for these symptoms. PAD can lead to increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and infection as well as to gangrene, a life-threatening medical emergency.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, blood tests, and sometimes a treadmill test, MRI, and arteriogram.

Treatment involves medication and surgery to open or bypass blocked arteries, and lifestyle changes regarding diet, exercise, and smoking cessation.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: leg numbness, spontaneous foot pain, decreased exercise tolerance, cold feet, thigh pain

Symptoms that never occur with peripheral arterial disease (pad): calf pain from an injury, thigh pain from an injury

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Foot Ulcer Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having foot ulcer

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult-onset diabetes, because it is the result of lifestyle and is not hereditary. Diabetes of any type is the condition where the body does not produce enough insulin to process the sugars in food.

Risk factors include obesity, overeating high-carbohydrate foods, lack of exercise, pregnancy, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS.)

Early symptoms include increased thirst; frequent urination; weight loss despite increased appetite; blurred vision; infections that are slow to heal; and blood sugar somewhat higher than normal.

It is important to get treatment at the first sign of these symptoms, because the high blood sugar levels can cause serious organ damage. Heart disease, neuropathy, kidney damage, and blindness can all result from untreated diabetes.

Diagnosis is made through a series of blood tests to measure blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be managed through lifestyle changes. A diet which eliminates refined carbohydrates and controls calories; regular exercise; regular blood sugar monitoring; and sometimes insulin or other medications will all be recommended.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, increased appetite compared to normal, vision changes, feeling itchy or tingling all over, excesive thirst

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by longstanding or poorly controlled diabetes mellitus (DM). Other risk factors for developing diabetic neuropathy include obesity, smoking, cardiovascular disease, and abnormal lipid levels.

Diabetic neuropathy can present as a number of distinct syndromes, including distal symmetric polyneuropathy, autonomic polyneuropathy, cranial neuropathy, or truncal neuropathy. Symptoms may include loss of sensation, weakness, pain, cardiovascular abnormalities, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, retention of urine, and/or double vision.

The diagnosis is initially made by clinical examination. Treatment includes controlling blood sugar, medications to relieve pain, and regular foot care.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: anxiety, depressed mood, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, fatigue

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Foot Ulcer

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • What color is the skin change?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Is your rash raised or rough when you run your hand over the area of skin?
  • Are there bumps on your rash?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having foot ulcer

Foot Ulcer Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced foot ulcer have also experienced:

  • 4% Swollen Foot
  • 3% Foot Pain
  • 3% Pain In The Sole Of The Foot

People who have experienced foot ulcer were most often matched with:

  • 40% Skin Infection Of The Foot
  • 30% Peripheral Arterial Disease (Pad)
  • 30% Type 2 Diabetes

People who have experienced foot ulcer had symptoms persist for:

  • 29% Over a month
  • 27% Less than a week
  • 25% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Foot Ulcer Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having foot ulcer