Most people fully recover from a diabetic foot ulcer after the wound is cleaned and disinfected. To prevent new ulcers from forming, NYU Langone doctors recommend long- term use of custom orthotic shoe inserts to better align the bones of the foot and more evenly distribute the weight of the body during movement. This removes excess stress from the areas that are vulnerable to ulcers.
Even after you’ve recovered from a foot ulcer, NYU Langone doctors strongly recommend maintaining a daily regimen of foot cleaning and inspection. This ensures that you notice any foot injury that could lead to an ulcer and get treatment before an infection occurs.
Maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking can also help an ulcer heal more quickly.
NYU Langone doctors encourage people with diabetes to inspect both feet every day for blisters, cuts, scratches, or ingrown toenails. Daily examination ensures that you or a doctor can administer the proper treatment before an infection develops.
Without treatment, even a small blister can become an ulcer in a matter of days. Friction between the foot and a sneaker or shoe increases irritation and may worsen a wound.
Foot ulcers often develop on the bottom of the foot, so doctors advise using a mirror to inspect that area.
People with diabetes who are overweight have an increased risk of developing peripheral neuropathy and lower extremity artery disease. As a result, a foot ulcer or fracture may heal slowly or not at all.
Dietitians and nutritionists at NYU Langone’s Weight Management Program can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. If obesity makes it difficult to control your blood sugar levels, doctors can discuss the possibility of weight loss surgery with you.
Cigarettes and other tobacco products contain chemicals that slow healing, which may inhibit full recovery from a diabetic foot ulcer. Tobacco products are also linked to circulatory problems and may increase the risk of lower extremity arterial disease.
NYU Langone’s Tobacco Cessation Programs can give you the tools and support you need to stop smoking for good.
Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.