Treating Pressure Ulcers of the Foot

With your healthcare provider’s care, hot spots, small cracks, or sores can be treated before they get infected. If infection is already present, medicines will probably be prescribed. Surgery may also be needed if the infection has spread.

Checking your feet

What to look for:

  • Use a mirror to look at the bottom of your feet each day. By doing so, you can catch small skin changes before they turn into ulcers.

  • Call your healthcare provider if you notice hot spots, red streaks, swelling, or any cracks or sores. Never try to treat corns or calluses yourself. 

  • Check the soles and insides of your shoes before putting them on. Remove any objects, such as pebbles.

Improving your overall health

Do your best to control health problems that may affect your feet, such as diabetes and kidney disease. Eat right and exercise. If you are given medicines, take them as directed. If you smoke, stop. Smoking reduces blood flow and slows healing. Limiting alcohol intake may also be helpful.

Thickened skin around the ulcer is being cleaned away.

Cleaning the ulcer

To assist healing, thickened skin around the ulcer may be cleaned away. Medicated ointment or cream may be applied to prevent infection. Sometimes a special dressing is used to help keep the wound dry.

Shoe inserts can help take pressure off ulcers.

Reducing force

To take pressure off hot spots and ulcers, your healthcare provider may prescribe orthoses. These custom-made shoe inserts absorb or divert pressure from problem areas. Special shoes or temporary casts may also be used.

Image of prescription bottles.

Using antibiotics

To control or prevent infection, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics. Take them all, and take them as directed. If you stop using an antibiotic too soon, the infection may come back.

Surgery may be needed.

If surgery is needed

Surgery may be needed if infection enters deep tissues or bone. In such cases, your healthcare provider cleans away the infection while removing as little tissue or bone as possible. You may also be given intravenous (IV) antibiotics to fight the infection.