Diabetic ulcers are open sores on the skin that heal slowly and increase your risk of infection. They can also lead to gangrene, a dangerous condition that causes the surrounding tissue to die and can potentially become fatal. Diabetic ulcers often form on your lower extremities, including the legs, feet, and toes, but can also occur on your hands or stomach.
If you have diabetes, these ulcers can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. High blood sugar levels can damage your nerves and veins when left unmanaged.
Over time, this prevents blood flow from reaching your extremities, making it harder for sores or cuts to heal.
Diabetes also increases your risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD) –– another chronic condition that negatively affects blood flow –– and diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). When the nerves in your feet don’t work as they should, you can cut or injure yourself and not realize it. This makes it possible for minor wounds to turn into ulcers.