Diabetes and feet – Diabetic foot ulcer diagnosis

Diagnosis of diabetic foot ulcer

Upon the first appearance of a wound on the feet, it is important for a person with diabetes to consult a diabetes doctor or a podiatrist. This is because diabetic foot ulcer is a serious diabetes complication that can lead to diabetic foot infections or even foot amputation.

Diabetes and feet – Diagnosis of diabetic foot ulcer

Though it is not hard to miss a wound on the feet, people with diabetes may miss out on noticing a wound early on due to lack of foot pain sensation, diabetic neuropathy, blood supply and impaired immunity. However, when a person does notice wounds on the feet, it is very important to consult a podiatrist or a diabetes doctor immediately.

Diabetic foot ulcers are known to occur in people with diabetes at some time or the other in their lifetime. However, it is important to diagnose and manage this condition early on as this is one of the leading causes of non-traumatic foot amputations.

Doctors generally prescribe a range of tests in order to confirm the diagnosis of diabetic foot ulcers. These tests include:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood sugar tests like random, fasting, postprandial, and HbA1c tests
  • Nylon monofilament test
  • Ankle-brachial index
  • X-ray for testing bone loss
  • MRI scan
  • Blood works including microbiological tests, culture tests

These tests help diagnose the presence of a diabetic foot ulcer or a diabetic foot infection. Along with this, the grade of the ulcer is also determined.

Grades of a diabetic foot ulcer

  • Grade 1: Wound is superficial and affects only the epidermis (outer layer of skin)
  • Grade 2: The ulcer spreads to the tendon and capsule; however, there is no bone involvement
  • Grade 3: Ulcer spreads to the bone and joints