Leg and foot ulcers cost the Medicare systems billions of dollars annually.
A study of Medicare claims showed that that patients suffering from an extremity ulcer cost on average three times as much as a Medicare claimant in general. As far back as 1995, ulcers were already costing the Medicare system more than $1.5 billion annually, and with the rise of Type 2 diabetes the figure has only risen.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons cited a report that showed the average cost of foot ulcer care in the United States went from more than $4,595 per episode to $28,000 for the total of treatments following the initial diagnosis. With the number of ulcer cases in the US approaching nearly one million the total national cost of ulcer care in the country is more than $5 billion.
Ulcers become even more costly when they lead to amputations. The cost of a lower extremity amputation falls in the range of $20,000 to $40,000 per surgery depending on the level of the amputation. This figure does not even include the outpatient costs.
Developing an ulcer costs patient more than the stress and mental anguish of the treatment. Ulcers are a costly medical condition, which become more expensive if the condition is allowed to worsen. Prevention is the best and most cost effective treatment.