Chronic Wounds in Podiatry: Identifying Underlying Causes

Did you know that around 7 million Americans live with a chronic or non-healing wound? If these wounds are left untreated, it’s a greater risk of infection, hospitalization, and amputation. These wounds mostly get ignored because they happen on foot. Learn about the common chronic wounds of the foot and symptoms to identify them.


Causes and symptoms

Here’s a list of common chronic wounds that can affect your foot which include:

  1. Diabetic Foot ulcer:

This wound is common in people with diabetes. It occurs on their feet, heels, or toes. Many times, they are not even aware of the wound because diabetes can damage the sensation nerves of the brain.

If left untreated, the ulcer grows larger and deeper due to reduced blood circulation in the damaged blood vessel which also increases the risk of infection, hospitalization, and amputation.

Its symptoms include:

  • An ulcer or wound on the feet, heel, or toes.
  • Legs skin becomes dry or flaky.
  1. Arterial or Ischemic Ulcer:

This type of ulcer occurs in the affected area which doesn’t receive blood properly. In medical terms, poor blood flow is called ischemia, hence these wounds are called ischemic ulcers. Generally, it occurs on the toes, feet, heels, and ankles.

Its symptoms include:

  • Cause leg pain which may worsen if you lift your leg.
  • Hairless or tight skin of the affected area.
  • Skin becomes cold to the touch
  • Wound drainage is deficient.
  • Rounded wound with even edges or look like punched out.
  1. Venous or stasis ulcer:

This chronic wound occurs when blood pools go up in the veins due to valves not working properly to stop them which push the blood back to the heart. In medical terms, the poor circulation is stasis, hence, these wounds are called venous stasis ulcers which mostly affect the area above the ankle.

Its symptoms include:

  • Leg pain
  • Swelling in the leg, particularly before sleep.
  • The affected area’s skin gets discolored.
  • Wound drainage is medium to high.
  • Pressure ulcer:

This occurs in people who suffer from limited mobility due to illness, injury, or paralysis. Other risk factors that increase the risk of pressure ulcers are obesity, poor nutrition, or urinary and bowel incontinence.

  • Commonly occur over parts with a bony prominence such as heels, iliac crests, or a sacrum.
  • Ulcers occur with pressure injuries with non-blanchable redness. If untreated the subcutaneous fat becomes visible.
  • If you’re continuously losing tissue, it may expose your inner muscle, tendon, or bone.
  1. Traumatic injury ulcer:

Severe trauma or injuries that cause hard-to-heal wounds due to significant tissue loss or organ damage which leads to poor circulation fall in this category. Car accidents are the most common cause of chronic wounds caused by traumatic injury. Sometimes, surgical incisions may cause hard-to-heal wounds if post-operative wound care fails.

Its symptoms include:

  • Redness around wounds or injury
  • Throbbing pain.
  • Odor or pus discharge
  • Fever
  1. Radiation-related wound:

It occurs in some cancer patients, during a soft tissue injury or chronic wound caused during treatment. It happens because radiation kills cancer cells but also harms healthy tissues, over time damage gets worse, and even symptoms may not occur for months or even years after treatment ends.


If you need help with foot wounds, visit our podiatry clinic in Brooklyn for professional help. For more tips on healthy feet, or if you need help with finding a good podiatrist, Doral Health & Wellness employs Podiatrists with extensive education and expertise. Trauma to the tendons, muscles, and bones of the foot is quite common. It’s not a good idea to put off seeing a Foot Doctor Brooklyn until you’re in a lot of pain. Our address is 1797 Pitkin Avenue, New York, NY 11212. To make an appointment, please call +1-347-384-5690 or send an email to