Understanding Diabetic Foot Ulcers and Common Misconceptions

Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are a common and serious complication of diabetes, affecting millions of people. DFUs are caused by a combination of poor circulation, nerve damage, and infection and can lead to amputation if not treated properly. Despite the prevalence of DFUs, there are still many misconceptions about these ulcers that can lead to misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. This article will provide an overview of DFUs and dispel some of the most common misconceptions.

What is Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

DFUs are open wounds that occur on the feet of people with diabetes. They are caused by a combination of poor circulation, nerve damage, and infection. DFUs can range from small sores to large ulcers that involve a significant area of the foot. DFUs are often painful and can become infected if not treated properly.

What are Common Misconceptions About Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

There are many common misconceptions about diabetic foot ulcers that can lead to misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. Here are some of the most common:

1. DFUs Are Caused by Poor Hygiene

Poor hygiene is not the cause of DFUs. DFUs are caused by a combination of poor circulation, nerve damage, and infection. Poor hygiene can, however, contribute to the development of DFUs if it allows bacteria to enter the wound.

2. DFUs Only Occur in People with Diabetes

DFUs can occur in people without diabetes, but they are much more common in people with diabetes. People with diabetes are more prone to infection and poor circulation, which can lead to the development of DFUs.

3. DFUs Can Be Treated with Antibiotics

Antibiotics can help treat infections that may be present in DFUs, but they are not a substitute for proper wound care. Wound care involves cleaning the wound, applying dressings, and protecting the wound from further damage.

4. DFUs Will Heal on Their Own

DFUs will not heal on their own. They require proper wound care and treatment to heal. If DFUs are left untreated, they can become infected, lead to amputation, or cause other serious complications.

5. DFU Wounds Need Air to Heal

DFU wounds do not need air to heal. In fact, it is essential to keep the wound covered with a dressing infused with antimicrobial agents to protect it from further damage. Wounds that are exposed to air can dry out, become infected, and increase the risk of complications.

6. DFUs Can Be Treated At Home

It is not recommended to treat DFUs at home as this can lead to further complications. DFUs should be treated by a medical professional and can require a combination of topical medications, antibiotics, and dressings.

7. DFUs Can Be Easily Prevented

While it is possible to reduce the risk of developing DFUs, it is not always possible to completely prevent them. People with diabetes should take steps to maintain good foot hygiene, control their blood sugar levels, and wear appropriate footwear to reduce their risk of developing DFUs.


Diabetic foot ulcers are a serious and common complication of diabetes that can lead to infection and even amputation if not treated properly. It is important to be aware of the common misconceptions surrounding DFUs to ensure that they are diagnosed and treated quickly and correctly.

If you’re suffering from diabetic foot ulcers or you know someone who does, consider working with a dedicated healthcare provider you can trust. Morristown Post Acute Rehabilitation and Nursing Center is a premier nursing home that provides patient-centered care for people with diabetes and other chronic conditions. We have a team of experienced and knowledgeable nurses and therapists who offer comprehensive care and support to help our patients achieve their goals. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with diabetic management in Morristown.