Examining the Medical, Drug, and Work Loss Costs of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Healthcare cost in America has been a hot topic in the news for the past several years, as our nation’s leaders look at ways to curb expenses and make top-level care more affordable for the masses. At the very least, the economic burden of diabetes-related complications should remain a motivator for individuals with the disease to strive toward careful health management.

Did you know that the average cost to heal a diabetic foot ulcer is $8,000? For a wound that has become infected, this number skyrockets up to $17,000, according to a report published in Clinical Diabetes, the official journal of the American Diabetes Association. Beyond the medical bills, the cost of diabetic foot ulcers to society is astronomical.

diabetic foot ulcers

Diabetic Foot Ulcers result from a complex interaction of multiple risk factors.

Statistics: Medical Expenses Associated with Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Research from Organogenesis Inc. and the Analysis Group of Massachusetts uncovered the following statistics:

– Of the $245 billion diabetes cost America in 2012, diabetic foot ulcers accounted for $176 billion in direct medical costs.

– Foot ulcers affected 1-6% of all diabetic patients. It is said up to 25% of diabetics will face a foot ulcer within a lifetime.

– Diabetic foot ulcers were over twice as costly for the privately insured ($30,309), versus Medicare patients ($11,296).

– The difference in per patient expense was largely associated with inpatient care costs, as well as prescription coverage.

diabetic foot ulcer cost

This graph shows the differential in cost for the privately insured vs. Medicare patients.

Why Are Diabetic Foot Infections so Expensive?

There are several reasons why privately insured patients with foot ulcers pay so much:

– They require more home healthcare.

– They spend more days in the hospital.

– They make more emergency room visits and more physician office visits.

According to researchers, “hospitalizations accounted for approximately two-thirds of the total healthcare cost differential among privately insured patients with diabetic foot ulcers.” They also found that Medicare-insured patients tended to receive care from other places of service, like outpatient clinics, home health aides, and emergency rooms.

“More attention should be given to patients with chronic, non-healing wounds, and specialized care should be initiated early and aggressively, as this has been shown to reduce healing time and complications,” concluded Geoff MacKay, president and CEO of Organogenesis.

Societal Costs Associated with Diabetic Foot Ulcers

In 2012, diabetic foot ulcers cost America $69 billion in reduced work productivity. The average privately insured patient with a foot ulcer incurred over $3,200 in annual work-loss costs due to disability and medically-related absenteeism. Sickness, absence, disability, early retirement, and premature mortality all contribute to lost productivity. As the World Health Organization points out, estimating the cost to society is not easy, especially considering the burden it places on family members who lose productivity in caring for a sick relative and the fact that “pain, anxiety, inconvenience and other factors which decrease quality of life are intangible costs, which are just as heavy.”

athletic shoes

UV light sanitization can lower your risk of diabetic foot ulcers.

Preventing Diabetic Foot Infections

The SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer is one tool at your disposal to help you prevent the enormous costs associated with diabetic foot infections and ulcers. In just 45 minutes, our device kills up to 99.9% of the fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other harmful pathogens using natural ultraviolet light. Podiatrists recommend our mess-free sanitization method as a better alternative to powders, sprays, and creams. Along with daily foot inspections, regular podiatrist visits, and washing with antibacterial soap, you can greatly limit the amount of germs you come into contact with and, as a result, lower your risk of diabetic foot ulcers. Try the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer risk-free for 30 days.