Diabetic foot ulcers are uncomfortable red sores typically found on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. They can also occur on the sides of the foot and tops of the toes if the diabetic does not wear properly fitting shoes. Although prevention is the best measure against diabetic foot ulcers, when they do occur, they need to be treated right away to avoid serious consequences like infection or amputation. The top four ways to treat diabetic ulcers of the foot are topical antibiotic ointments, debridement, stem cells, and keeping weight off the affected foot.

Top 4 Options for Treating Diabetic Foot Ulcers

  • Topical antibiotic ointment
  • Debridement
  • Stem cells
  • Elevation

Topical Ointments

The first thing you should do when you discover a diabetic foot ulcer is to apply a topical antibiotic to the affected area. As a diabetic, always keep an-over-the-counter tube in the medicine cabinet. After applying the ointment, cover the ulcer with a clean, dry bandage. Make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. A M.D. will possibly prescribe a stronger antibiotic as well as explore other treatment options.


  • Topical ointments help prevent infection.
  • Easy to do at home.
  • Aids in healing the ulcer.


This treatment consists of the doctor cleaning out the ulcer. The treatment removes any foreign bodies that could cause infection. The wound will be flushed with sterile saline after the debridement. Since ulcers can hide under a callus, these should be removed as well.


  • Debridement is an effective wound cleansing treatment.
  • Debridement prevents infection.
  • Debridement promotes healing.

Stem Cells

Stem cells are unlike any other cell in the body because they can make more cells. This process is being tested to help close ulcer wounds found on the feet of diabetics by creating new, healthy cells from the stem cells. This tends to be an area of healing that takes the most time and can be hindered by several variables. However, this option is still seeking approval.


  • Speeds healing.
  • Prevents infection.
  • Creates healthy cells.

Keep Weight Off Affected Foot

While the ulcer is healing, it is important to keep weight off the foot. This is also referred to as “offloading”. It typically means you shouldn’t walk or put any weight on the affected foot. The reason for offloading is to keep the blood flowing throughout the lower extremities, something that diabetics need extra help with.


  • Encourages blood flow.
  • Speeds up healing.
  • Helps prevent infection.


Foot ulcers on a diabetic’s foot is a very serious wound. Ulcers need to be cared for immediately upon discovery to avoid infection and/or amputation. Because diabetics have poor blood circulation in their lower extremities, this can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. If this is the case, it is important to regularly inspect the feet for ulcers that may be there but which you simply can not feel. If an ulcer is discovered, take immediate action. Apply an antibiotic ointment and bandage to the affected area and keep it clean. Be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible to further prevent infection and to promote fast healing.