The Burden of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Diabetic foot ulcers are a disease within a disease. Many afflicted with diabetes will eventually develop a condition referred to as peripheral neuropathy, leaving them unable to feel pain or other sensation in their feet. Because of this, these individuals are unaware of recurring pressure or friction to their feet caused by daily habits that could be eroding the integrity of their skin. In addition to damage over time, these individuals are also unaware of immediate trauma causing wounds. The issue is compounded by the fact that many with diabetes lose adequate perfusion to their extremities, leaving their skin more vulnerable to injury.

The Problem

The NIH estimates over 20 million people are afflicted with peripheral neuropathy in the US 1

The Real Cost

The lifetime risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer is between 19% and 34%. While the rate of diabetic foot ulcers for those with diabetes is approximately 4%, the rate increases to 7.5% following diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy. The cost of diabetic foot ulcers to the US healthcare system is estimated near $31K per episode, with a total annual estimated cost of more than $17B, driven by ED visits, hospitalizations, and amputations. While these costs are important, the real cost is experienced by the individual. Diabetic foot ulcer episodes may persist for months, impacting a person’s ability to drive, work or care for their family.

Living with the Burden

The ongoing treatments associated with the ulcer can also take a financial toll on the afflicted. After experiencing an initial ulcer, recurrence is common, with approximately 40% of patients experiencing their next ulcer within 1 year, 60% within 3 years, and 65% within 5 years2. Up to 10% of diabetic foot ulcers result in amputation. Following an amputation, mortality rates increase to 44% after 1 year and 85% by year 53-5. The impact of diabetic foot ulcers is tragic, yet there is hope.

1. Peripheral Neuropathy | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (
2. The current burden of diabetic foot disease – PMC ( 3. Armstrong (2007) Skin Temperature Monitoring Reduces the Risk for DFU in High-Risk Patients 4. Lavery (2007) Preventing DFU Recurrence in High-Risk Patients: Use of Temperature Monitoring 5. Lavery (2004) Home Monitoring of Foot Skin Temperatures to Prevent Ulceration

The impact of diabetic foot ulcers is tragic, yet there is hope.

Solving the Problem


in ulcers with visual inspection and temperature analysis.

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