The 4 Stages of Ulcers

When we cut or scrape our skin, our cells require adequate blood flow to that area in order to heal the wound. This blood delivers clotting agents that stop the wound from bleeding, in addition to oxygen and nutrients that allow new skin cells to grow. Wounds or sores that do not heal properly are called ulcers. Ulcers may form on our feet for a few different reasons, including narrow blood vessels or constant pressure on a particular area. Individuals with poor circulation, like smokers or diabetics, are more prone to foot ulcers.

Ulcers, like any other break in your skin, should be taken seriously because they can become infected. However, the development of an ulcer is a progressive process, and each stage comes with different signs and symptoms. Here are some brief differences between each stage:

  • Stage 1: The skin becomes red and irritated where there is pressure, and does not go away when the pressure is relieved. Pain and discomfort are common.
  • Stage 2: The skin is broken for the first time. The sore may look like a blister or a shallow crater, and is typically painful and tender.
  • Stage 3: The ulcer penetrates even deeper into the tissue underneath the skin, possibly exposing fat cells. There may be no pain due to severe nerve or tissue damage.
  • Stage 4: The sore is now so deep that it reaches the muscles, bones, or tendons. Infections and other serious complications may occur. As with a Stage 3 ulcer, it is possible that the individual feels no pain.

The treatment of an ulcer can be complicated because it involves addressing two components: the wound itself, and the underlying systemic issue that is preventing it from healing. Fortunately, Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico of Syracuse Podiatry has the skill and experience necessary to treat ulcers at any stage. A board-certified podiatrist, Dr. D’Amico is Central New York’s go-to source for all foot and ankle conditions, including ingrown toenails, Haglund’s deformity, and sports injuries. Dr. D’Amico and the staff at Syracuse Podiatry’s Fayetteville office welcome patients of all ages! Call us at (315) 446-3668 or contact us today!

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