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What is it?

What causes it?

A foot ulcer is a wound or a break in the skin that fails to heal normally.

Neuropathic foot ulcer

You are more likely to develop a foot ulcer if you have prolonged pressure to a certain area of the foot over time (for example due to bed rest), poor circulation [1], or you have lost feeling in your feet [2]. You are particularly at risk of a foot ulcer if you have diabetes [2]. Sometimes a break in the skin occurs due to inappropriate footwear, and this becomes an ulcer.

What are the symptoms?

Foot ulcers might appear as wounds that don’t heal, or they might occur underneath hard skin and corns - if this is the case, you might notice that your hard skin has become discoloured. Pressure ulcers can initially appear as redness of the skin, and the area is usually painful unless you have lost feeling in your feet. Foot ulcers can become inflamed and in some cases infected, where urgent medical attention is required. Visit our clinic in Bradford for more advice.

What podiatry treatments are available?

  • Full ulcer review - our highly experienced podiatrist will determine the cause of your foot ulcer. This assessment will include a full medical history, alongside vascular, neurological and biomechanical assessments. Your footwear will also be assessed.

  • Dressings and offloading – the most appropriate dressing will be applied to your ulcer and if pressure is the cause, this will be deflected from the ulcer site with padding or insoles, to allow the ulcer to heal. We will review your ulcer at least once a week until it has healed.

  • GP/NHS referral – if required, you will be referred to your GP or local NHS Trust for further treatment. This may include antibiotic therapy, X-rays, or input from a vascular consultant.


1.     National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2012) Peripheral arterial disease: diagnosis and management. Clinical guideline [CG147].

2.     Murray, H.J., Young, M.J., Hollis, S., Boulton, A.J. (1996) The association between callus formation, high pressures and neuropathy in diabetic foot ulceration. Diabetic Medicine, 13 (11), p979-982.

3.     Bell, D. (2009) The role of podiatry in wound management. Journal of the American College of Clinical Wound Specialists, 1(3): 78-79.

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