Not all ulcers are the same, even when found are on the same foot. Longstanding ulcerations may not be healing even when there is proper blood flow, nutrition, and treatment. Several skin cancers have been known to prevent ulcers from healing. When an ulcer is taking longer than it should to heal or looks a little different from others, it is important to further inspect the area.

A biopsy is a simple test to determine what is going on with the ulcer. A punch biopsy is essentially taking a small piece of skin from the ulcer and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. But don’t worry, punch biopsies are commonly used and can be easily completed in your podiatrist’s office. Your doctor will numb the area to prevent any discomfort. Once they have completed the biopsy, the sample is sent to a pathology lab. In a few days time, the laboratory results will state exactly what type of tissue is in the sample of skin and ulcer.

A biopsy will help your podiatrist determine what treatment is best. If your results do not show any signs of cancer (and they probably will), your doctor can continue local wound therapy. Because a biopsy works so well and definitively, it has earned the title of “gold standard therapy”. If you or someone you know has an ulcer on their foot or leg, it is important to see a podiatrist for treatment right away. The podiatrists at Coastal Podiatry Associates have great knowledge and experience in treating all types of ulcers and are happy to help you.

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