A team from the University of Bristol have discovered what causes a condition which can lead to people with diabetes having to have lower limbs amputated.
It is estimated that around 50,000 people with diabetes will have a foot ulcer at any one time, and up to 15% of all foot ulcers will result in amputations.
People with Type 2, or adult onset, diabetes are particularly at risk.
The researchers looked at 14 patients who had needed below-the-knee amputations.
They compared skin tissue from their amputated leg with some from their healthy leg.
It was found that damaging changes were occurring in the connective tissue that supports the skin.
The rate of tissue renewal was much quicker than normal and poor blood supply leads to abnormal collagen - the protein that is the main support in connective tissue.
This means the skin is not as strong as it should be and can break down more easily, allowing ulcers to form.
However experts said, that, this research is very promising and they will watch with interest for further work in this area, and to help avoid complications of diabetes such as these, they would like to advise people to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels and aim to have good control of blood glucose levels.