A diabetic develops leg sores because he suffers from complications of diabetes such as neuropathy, says Cleveland Clinic. Neuropathy makes the patient less likely to feel pain or pressure in his legs, and because of that, he does not attend to injuries there. Over time, this causes the skin to break down, leading to ulcers.
Because of these ulcers, the risk of amputation of the affected limb for diabetics is significant, as reported by PubMed Central. If the ulcer does not improve in five years, most diabetic patients have that limb or extremity amputated.
There are four clinical stages of pressure ulcers in the leg, according to PubMed Central. In stage 1, the skin is intact but sometimes warmer than normal, swollen or discolored. In stage 2, there is some damage to the upper levels of the skin, but the ulcer is considered superficial. In stage 3, all layers of skin are lost, and there might be damage to the tissue beneath it. In stage 4, necrosis of the skin and underlying tissue might include the muscle or the bone.
Physicians treat ulcers by removing the pressure that caused them, says PubMed Central. Compression stockings also aid in healing. A wound higher than stage 2 is surgically debrided, with follow-up plastic surgery to restore some of the look of the area.